Market Wrap: Aus shares close higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed up over 1% higher, beating a negative lead from Wall St overnight, to rise throughout the day. Gains in the mining sector, helping to offset the markets weekly losses.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index is up 59 points to finish at 4,460 and down 106 on the week. And on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 72 points.

Looking to the U.S. and on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial index closed 334 points down for the four trading days this week. The S&P500 Index is down 38 points, the NASDAQ is down 98 points and the 100 index is down 71.

To company news around this afternoon: Aquila Resources Ltd (ASX:AQA) has upgraded its resource estimate for the Eagle Downs hard coking coal project in central Queensland, in which it holds a 50% stake. The coal and iron ore miner says the resource has increased from a previous estimate of 894 million tonnes, to 948 million tonnes. Aquilla says the feasibility study proposes an underground longwall mine, initially producing up to 4.6 million tonnes of hard coking coal per annum, but increasing to 8 million tonnes when the second long wall is installed. Shares in Aquila Resources closed 4.13% up at $8.33.

Mirabela Nickel Ltd (ASX:MBN) has reported a $19.28 million loss for the first half of the year, compared to a profit of $10.77 million the year before. The nickel miner recorded 4,295 tonnes of nickel in concentrate production for the first half of the year, and advises full year production guidance is currently tracking at 10,500 tonnes, on the lower end of earlier stated guidance. Mirabella says, as its operations transition to full production, sales and production volumes are expected to increase, and unit cash costs are expected to decrease. Shares in Mirabela Nickel closed 3.77% up at $1.925.

Ramelius Resources Ltd (ASX:RMS) says it anticipates making a decision to start mining at the Mt Magnet project in Western Australia by mid-2011, having bought the project from Harmony Gold last month for $40 million.

Image Resources (ASX:IMA) has announced it has applied for three tenements in the Eucla Basin of Western Australia, a 90% increase to the miners ongoing exploration in the region.

Shares in Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) today dropped to a record low following yesterday’s announcement that the telco’s annual $3.88 billion profit fell below the $4.07 billion reported the year before. The embattled telecommunication’s giant also today announced it plans to sell its 51% stake in Chinese company SouFun Holdings Ltd for around US$413 million.

Mining and exploration company Equinox Minerals Ltd (ASX:EQN) has reported a $118 million profit for the first half of the year, rebounding from a loss of $111 million the year before.

In the best and worst performers: The best performing sector at close was the Materials index, up 266 points at 12,156. The worst performing sector was the Telco Services index, down 4 points to 1,002.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Panoramic Resources shares rose 13% to $2.52. Shares in Western Areas and Lynas Corp also closed higher. The worst performing stock was James Hardie Industries shares dropped 2.28% to $5.57. Shares in Sims Metal Management and Brambles Ltd also closed weaker today.

The Australian Dollar is trading at 90.28 US cents, down one and a half cents on the week.

In commodities, gold is trading at $1216 U.S an ounce and is up $12.50 on the week. Light crude is up $1.00 at $76.74 U.S a barrel.