It has been a strong finish to the trading day for the Australian share market, which picked up steam after lunch to close 0.91 per cent higher. All sectors finished the day in positive territory, but it was Utilities which took the lead along with Energy, with gains of close to 5 per cent in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG). We also saw some solid buying in REITS. The worst of a good bunch was Health Care and Consumer Discretionaries which finished the day in the black by the skin of their teeth.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 52 points up to finish at 5,772.
The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 814 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 Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG).
On the futures market the SPI is 49 points up.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is up 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.7 per cent and Tokyo’s Nikkei is 0.1 per cent higher.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has once again kept interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent. While the central bank cited its optimism about the Australian economy, varied housing conditions and slow income growth was one of the main drivers in leaving rates unchanged.
Fortescue Metals Limited (ASX:FMG) has updated the market on the status on the South Headland power station. FMG is currently a party to a power purchase agreement with TransAlta Corporation in relation to the power station. It says it has informed TransAlta that in its view the South Headland Power Station has not yet satisfied the performance criteria under FMG’s contract. As such, it says it is continuing to purchase electricity from other generators to supply its operations in Port Headland.
Shares in Fortescue closed 1.39 per cent up at $5.82.
Navitas (ASX:NVT) has reported its net profit after tax, attributable to members fell to $80.32 million for FY17, compared $90.08 million in FY16.
Ingenia Communities Group (ASX:INA) has acquired it fourth Brisbane lifestyle community property for $25 million, which is close to a major Westfield shopping centre and the Brisbane CBD.
Oroton Group (ASX:ORL) is forecasting net debt to come in at $6 million, and underlying EBITDA of between $2 and $3 million for FY17.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 2.3 per cent to close at 8,409. The sector with the least gains was Consumer Discretionaries adding 0.2 per cent to close at 2,195 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), rising 6.73 per cent to close at $3.17. Shares in Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IGN) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Isentia Group (ASX:ISD), dropping 20.72 per cent to close at $1.76. Shares in Navitas (ASX:NVT) and Aconex Limited (ASX:ACX) also closed lower.
Evans & Partners Global Disruption Fund (ASX:EGD) started trading today. The investment fund floated with an issue price of $1.60, opened at $1.60 and closed at $1.68.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,269 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.46 higher at $US50.17 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8006.