The Australian share market opened higher this morning following speculation of more stimulus to come from global banks. Local stocks climbed steadily throughout the day, peaking around lunchtime, before closing 0.5 per cent up this afternoon.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21 points up to finish at 4,313. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 31 points up.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released its housing finance for June, with a 1.3 per cent increase in the number of home loans approved, tallying 46,859. The ABS also reported a 2.4 per cent rise in housing finance by value with a figure of $20.724 billion.
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) anticipates savings of about $300 million per year after asset sales and consolidation which is expected to include up to 2,800 job cuts. CEO Alan Joyce defended the job-cutting, describing the strategy as part of a wholesale transformation of Qantas ahead of an expected alliance with a major overseas carrier. Shares in Qantas Airways closed 1.32 per cent up at $1.15.
UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) CEO Richard Leupen has described today’s $99.45 million resources contract at the BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) Jimblebar mine in Western Australia as an important win for the engineering company. The contract includes structural, mechanical and piping works at the iron ore site, offering what UGL describes as a balanced risk profile and the potential to deliver profitable growth. Shares in UGL closed 0.78 per cent up at $12.93.
Residential property developer Stockland (ASX:SGP) has booked a 35 per cent drop in its full year profit.
Share registry Computershare Limited (ASX:CPU) has reported a 41 per cent fall in its full year profit.
Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) has booked a half year net loss of $4.1 million, hit by easing cattle prices at the end of 2011.
Diagnostic product business Genetic Technologies Limited (ASX:GTG, NASDAQ:GENE) has reached a milestone, securing European approval for its breast cancer risk test.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts, adding 60 points to close at 5,146.
The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 34 points to close at 1,359 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA), rising 8.97 per cent to close at $2.55. Shares in Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) and Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU), dropping 13.33 per cent to close at $0.33. Shares in Stockland (ASX:SGP) and Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,610 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.31 down at $US93.36 a barrel.
The Australian Dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.055.