Following strong offshore leads the Australian share market opened higher and continued to gain momentum throughout the day in anticipation of the RBA’s interest rate decision tomorrow, before closing 0.8 per cent up.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index was 35 points up to finish at 4,397. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 33 points higher.
Private sector credit has lifted 0.4 per cent in March according to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) monthly financial aggregates data. Annual growth remained flat at 5.3 per cent, the slowest rate in over 35 years.
The Housing Industry Association has reported new home sales have dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade. New home sales plunged 9.4 cent in March to 5443 homes Australia wide, following a 3 per cent lift in the month prior.
Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) have reported an increase in its March quarter production by 8 per cent. The Energy producer and retailer attributes the rise to the Australia-Pacific liquefied natural gas project in Queensland. The increase in production has offset reduced production from the BassGas project which has seen costs rise to $460 million from $360 million. Shares in Origin closed 0.23 per cent up at $13.26.
Ivanhoe Australia Limited (ASX:IVA) says it has identified significant drilling results at its Kulthor deposit in Queensland. Ivanhoe has been conducting three separate drilling campaigns since late last year. Ivanhoe’s chief says the company is seeing confirmation of the indicated mineral resource at Kulthor with the potential for resource growth. Shares in Ivanhoe closed 6.84 per cent up at $1.25.
Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT) has made an unconditional takeover offer for Eureka Energy Limited (ASX:EKA). The oil and gas explorer has offered Eureka shareholders $0.45 per share which will value Eureka at about $107 million.
National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) has advised it will restructure its UK operations in an effort to lift its earnings with 1400 job redundancies expected.
Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX:TAH) has completed the refinancing of its debt facility raising $US 220 million of debt from a US private placement and refinanced $400 million of its existing syndicated bank facility.
Oil and gas explorer Central Petroleum Limited (ASX:CTP) is pursuing opportunities to separately list its coal assets in the Northern Territory. The exploration company believes its coal assets are not achieving the market visibility required to move into potential commercialisation.
Best and worst performers
Most sectors closed higher: The best performing sector was Materials adding 152 points to close at 10,978. The sector with the smallest gains was Health Care, gaining 1 point to close at 8,958 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Integra Mining Limited (ASX:IGR), rising 8.33 per cent to close at $0.52. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings and Intrepid Mines also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD) dropping 5.26 per cent to close at $2.52. Shares in Dart Energy and JB Hi-Fi also closed lower.
To commodities, gold is trading at $US1,665 an ounce. Light crude is $0.10 up at $US105.03 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0461.