Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.3% higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market finished the day slightly stronger coming off its two day Christmas break, finishing 0.3 per cent up as talks continue in the US ahead of the fiscal cliff deadline.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 13 points up to finish at 4,648. The value of trades was $1.25 billion on volume of 270 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 Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS).

On the futures market, the SPI is currently 18 points higher.

Company news

Nucoal Resources Limited (ASX:NCR) has responded to a price query from the ASX, saying it is not aware of any unreleased explanation surrounding recent price and volume changes in its shares. The ASX issued the coal explorer with a ‘please explain’ pertaining to a fluctuation from 13 to 24 cents on December 19. Shares in Nucoal Resources closed 16.22 per cent up at $0.21.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Medical Developments International Limited (ASX:MVP) has signed a two year supply contract with global health care group GlaxoSmithKline Australia. Under the contract, Medical Developments will supply up to 130 thousand Asthma space chamber devices to the Australian market. The company has also secured exclusive distributors and distribution partners for its products in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the UK. Shares in Medical Developments International closed steady at $1.70.

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) has raised $300 million from its convertible preference shares offer, upgraded from its original $200 million target.

Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) says the commissioning of its 800,00 tonne per annum processing plant at its Mt Carlton gold-silver-copper mine in North Queensland has commenced.

Buccaneer Energy Limited (ASX:BCC) is aiming to raise $9.3 million after executing binding agreements for the issue of 198 million shares at just under 5 cents per share.

National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) put through more than 3.8 million ATM, eftpos and credit card transactions on boxing day, with a transaction rate that peaked at 100 per second.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary adding 13 points to close at 1,340.
The worst performing sector was Health Care, losing 25 points to close at 11,645.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Maverick Drilling and Exploration Limited (ASX:MAD), rising 9.22 per cent to close at $0.77. Shares in Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) and FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX:MDL), dropping 3.52 per cent to close at $3.84. Shares in Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) and Bathurst Resources Limited (ASX:BTU) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,658 an ounce. Light crude is $0.05 down at $US90.93 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.035.