The Australian share market has ended the day 0.2 per cent higher on speculation the Federal Reserve will announce more stimulus measures.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 9 points to close at 4,132. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points higher.
Housing starts tumbled in the first quarter to the lowest level in more than a decade. Dwelling commencements fell 12.6 per cent to just over 30,000 reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
And, seasonally adjusted, imports rose 4 per cent or $808 million in May.
The annualized growth rate of the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index, indicating the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future, was 0.2 per cent in April, below its long term trend of 2.6 per cent.
The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator rose by 1.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in May.
News Corporation’s (ASX:NWS) Australian arm News Limited will collapse 19 of its eastern seaboard operations to just five. In a video announcement to staff chief executive Kim Williams says there will be single divisions in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The Australian and NewsLifeMedia will continue to operate as separate national divisions. The company didn’t put a number on the job losses, although the restructuring plan will result in positions being made redundant. The announcement comes just two days after Fairfax Media Limited’s (ASX:FXJ) announcement it will axe 1900 jobs over the next three years. News Corp shares gained 0.55 per cent, closing at $20.15.
Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (ASX:CMJ) says it’s received a proposal from News Limited to acquire the company at $3.50 cash per share. News says if the proposal was to go ahead, it would acquire ConsMedia at a cost of just under $2 billion. News would double its stakes in Fox Sports Australia and Foxtel. The proposal is subject to a number of conditions and there’s no certainty the deal will go ahead. ConsMedia shares rose 9.74 per cent, closing at $3.38.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) says it’s committing $US4.2 billion to develop its tier one iron ore business.
Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) announces it intends to acquire ownership of the Mitre 10 Group.
Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT) confirms three of its representatives will join the Eureka Energy Limited (ASX:EKA) board.
Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) advises the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee relating to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant has been debated in the Malaysian parliament.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Financials excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts rising 45 points to close at 4,675. The worst performing sector was Telco Services, losing 17 points to close at 1,231 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL), rising 6.56 per cent to close at $0.33. Shares in CuDeco Limited (ASX:CDU) and Bathurst Resources Limited (ASX:BTU) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Integra Mining Limited (ASX:IGR), dropping 6.98 per cent to close at $0.40. Shares in Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL) and Gryphon Minerals Limited (ASX:GRY) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,621 an ounce. Light crude is $0.04 higher at $US84.07 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.019.