Back in the black: Aus shares close 0.26% higher

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

Despite a negative start to the trading day the Australian share market has managed to recoup all of its losses in the last couple of hours of trade and ended up closing the day 0.26 per cent higher. We saw a rebound in the Materials space on the back of a jump in the price of iron ore futures, however the best performer at the end of the day was Utilities. Consumer Staples proved to be the biggest drag on the market this session.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 15 points up to finish at 5,774.

The value of trades was $5.7 billion on volume of 814 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were CSL Limited (ASX:CSL), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG).

On the futures market the SPI is 17 points up.

Economic news

According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance for owner occupation fell 0.2 per cent for January, seasonally adjusted. In terms of personal finance commitments, they fell 2.8 per cent and commercial finance commitments for January fell 7.1 per cent.

Company news

BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) has advised that it has completed the first part of its Stage 1 earn in to the Carnegie Potash project , a joint venture with Kalium Lakes Limited (ASX:KLL). In the second part of Stage 1, BC Iron will earn a further 15 per cent interest by contributing the next $1 million of expenditure towards the completion of a Scoping Study and associated activities. Shares in BC Iron Limited closed 4.88 per cent higher at $0.21.

Former Hunter Hall CEO Peter Hall has sold his remaining 24 per cent stake in Hunter Hall (ASX:HHL) to Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL) for $2.60 per share.

National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) has teamed up with a developer, the Leyshon Group, to acquire a 6,900 sqm property at Bundall in the Gold Coast.

Mining and energy company, Intra Energy Corporation (ASX:IEC), has entered into an agreement with the Tanzanian government.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.29 per cent to close at 8,432. The worst performing sector was Staples, losing 0.56 per cent to close at 9,424 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), rising 5.65 per cent to close at $6.54. Shares in Viva Enegy (ASX:VVR) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), dropping 4.62 per cent to close at $2.48. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) also closed lower.

IPOs

Wattle Health Australia (ASX:WHA) started trading today. The food and beverage company floated at $0.20, opened at $0.22 and is closed at $0.20.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,202 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.15 higher at $US49.09 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US75.71.

Carolyn Herbert

Finance News Network
Carolyn joined FNN in August 2015 as the Head of News and also presented the Market at Midday and the Market Wrap. With more than five years of broadcast journalism experience, Carolyn has worked as a finance anchor on the Sky News Business channel and as an anchor and reporter for ABC News. She is also a qualified corporate lawyer specialising in IPOs, takeovers and mergers and acquisitions.