Market Wrap: ASX boosted by Chinese data

Market Reports

The Australian share market has finished 0.57 per cent higher after local investors overlooked weak local economic data to focus on China’s economic recovery following a seven month high in Chinese manufacturing data.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 26 points up to finish at 4,532. The value of trades was $3.5 billion on volume of 710 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 ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).

On the futures market, the SPI is currently 28 points higher.

Economic news

The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge eased 0.1 per cent in November, after increasing 0.1 per cent the month before.

Manufacturing has contracted for the ninth consecutive month. The Australian Industry Group’s Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index has dipped 1.6 points to 43.6 in November, remaining below 50, indicating contraction.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics has reported the official purchasing managers index increased to 50.6 in November, hitting a seventh month high and remaining above the 50 level which indicates expansion. The China HSBC purchasing managers survey reached 50.5 in November, up from 49.5 in October, the indexes first plus 50 result in over a year.

Company news

Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) has increased its full year production guidance on the back of strong operational performance continuing into November and December, with production and cash costs better than budget in the current financial year to date. The gold producer says it has also commenced tendering for expansion works on its Carosue Dam project in Western Australia, with stage one expected to commence in the second quarter of 2013. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings closed 1.11 per cent down at $0.45.

Sandalwood processing company TFS Corporation Limited (ASX:TFC) has reported a net profit of $2.6 million for the September quarter, with total revenue of $24.5 million for the period. The result was impacted by less than favourable movement in the exchange rates between the Australian and US Dollar, however the company insists its first half earnings profile typically bears little relevance to its full year result owing to heavy bias in second half earnings. Shares in TFS Corporation closed 1.06 per cent lower at $0.47.

Cement and lime manufacturer Adelaide Brighton Limited (ASX:ABC) has paid $28.5 million to buy a 30 per cent stake in a Malaysian white cement business.

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has awarded Service Stream Limited (ASX:SSM) a $180 million contract to work on the remediation of Telstra pit and pipe infrastructure connected to the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) shares remain in a trading halt as its drawn out potential takeover deal with Chinese suitor Hanlong mining appears headed for oblivion, with the Chinese company unable to secure credit approval from the China Development Bank before its December 13 deadline.

Shares in Africa-focussed copper explorer and producer Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) dipped more than 3.5 per cent today after it flagged a potential disruption to its mining schedule and production plans at its Boseto copper mine in Botswana.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 124 points to close at 11,455.
The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 17 points to close at 5,083 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD), rising 8.6 per cent to close at $1.20. Shares in Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC) and St. Barbara Limited  (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG), dropping 11.86 per cent to close at $0.26. Shares in Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) and Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,721 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.24 up at $US89.15 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.04.