It has been a solid finish to this Wednesday’s trading session on the Australian share market, with the local bourse managing to edge higher into positive territory in the afternoon and close up 1.06 per cent. While most sectors closed the day higher, Health Care was the star performer this session, with solid gains of around 4 per cent in the likes of Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) and 3 per cent in CSL Limited (ASX:CSL). Telcos and Energy fell into the red, closing around 0.3 per cent lower.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 61 points up to finish at 5,834.
The value of trades was $7.3 billion on volume of 924 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 48 points up.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.1 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.8 per cent lower.
According to latest figures from The Westpac-Melbourne Institute, consumer sentiment fell in June for a third straight month. The index of consumer sentiment declined 1.8 per cent to a reading of 96.2. A reading of below 100 indicates that the number of pessimists outweigh optimists.
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has announced that an in principle agreement has been reached to settle the Manus Island class action for $70 million plus costs. The class action is being run by Slater and Gordon on behalf of detainees held at Manus Island between November 2012 to May 2016. The legal costs are expected to be in excess of $20 million, subject to court approval. Shares in Slater and Gordon closed 12.9 per cent higher at $0.10.
Ten Network Holdings (ASX:TEN) has gone into voluntary administration, following a trading halt announced yesterday.
National Veterinary Care Limited (ASX:NVL) has entered into an agreement to acquire one vet clinic, and is finalising terms to acquire another.
Starpharma Holdings Limited (ASX:SPL) has completed a transaction to sell Starpharma Agrochemicals to Agrium Inc. for $35 million.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Health Care adding 2.5 per cent to close at 24,388. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 1,534 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nine Entertainment Co (ASX:NEC), rising 6.23 per cent to close at $1.36. Shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Australian Pharmaceuticals (ASX:API) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), dropping 8.59 per cent to close at $1.76. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) also closed lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,269 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.16 lower at $US46.16 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7553.