Market Wrap: Aussie shares recover earlier losses

Market Reports

The Australian share market managed to reverse earlier losses and finish firmer as energy stocks found favour on a higher oil price. However concerns about on-going tensions and fighting in Libya, as well as the nuclear emergency in Japan – kept many investors on the sidelines.

The S&P/ASX200 Index rose 16 points to close at 4,643. On the futures market, the SPI is up 13 points.

In economic news: Seasonally adjusted – merchandise imports rose 6 per cent in February to a little over 18 billion dollars. Imports of mineral fuels and materials rose, while imports of machinery and transport equipment fell.

Turning to company news: Shares in Amadeus Energy soared today. Directors of the junior oil and gas producer have recommended a 105 million dollar takeover proposal by US-based Eden Petroleum Investments. Eden has offered 35 cents per Amadeus share – that’s 33 cents cash and a dividend of 2 cents. Amadeus chairman Craig Coleman says the transaction confirms the board’s view that the company’s market price didn’t reflect the value of its assets. The deal is expected to be completed in early July. Amadeus Energy shares climbed 38.64 per cent to close at 30.5 cents. 

Lundin Mining’s board has recommended shareholders reject a 4.8 billion US dollar bid from Equinox Resources. The board says the offer undervalues the company and is too risky. Lundin has also questioned whether Equinox would be able to finance the 3.2 billion US dollars in debt it plans to take on to fund the bid. Lundin shareholders are now instead expected to vote on a friendly tie-up with Inmet Mining. Equinox has so far not commented on the rejection. Shares in Equinox lifted 0.56 per cent to close at $5.34.

Also making news: Organic Marketing Australia has taken Woolworths to court for using the phrase “honest to goodness” – alleging it infringes its intellectual property. Shares in Oaks Hotels and Resorts jumped almost 30 per cent today after hospitality company Minor International PC made a takeover offer for the company.

Taking a look at other news: Fairfax Media has confirmed reports that both the AFR CEO, Michael Gill, and the AFR editor, Glenn Burge have left the paper. The Australian’s Brett Clegg has moved into the role of CEO of the AFR.
And the Singapore Exchange’s planned bid for the operator of the Australian Securities Exchange looks to be in jeopardy, amid reports that key regulatory approvals now look less likely to be granted.

In the best and worst performers: The best performing sector was Energy sector with the index adding 152 to close at 16,414. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, losing 50 points to close at 7,504.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Extract... shares rising 14.43 per cent to close at $8.01. Shares in Infigen and Medusa also closed in positive territory today.
The worst performing stock was Spot Group, shedding 5 per cent to close at $1.90. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals and Sundance also closed weaker today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $US1,427 an ounce and Light crude is $1.78 cents firmer at $US102.85 a barrel.

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