Market Wrap: Miners surge as US stimulus stays

Market Reports

The Australian share market jumped at open and sustained gains to close more than 1 per cent stronger after the US Central Bank opted to maintain its economic stimulus program. Higher commodity prices boosted the mining sector with gold miners taking charge and booking a stellar performance.  

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 57 points to finish at 5,295.5.

The value of trades was $7.2 billion on volume of 1.3 billion shares at the close of trade.

The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 60 points stronger. 

Company news 
Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) has appointed a new chief after abandoning an existing refinancing deal and inking a new one. The troubled surf wear retailer ditched a refinancing proposal from the Altamont consortium in favour of a deal with a group including Oaktree Capital Management LP and Centerbridge Partners LP. The company has also overhauled its management team in order to reflect the latest investment in Billabong and appointed Neil Fiske as its new CEO and Managing Director. Shares in Billabong International rose 5.56 per cent today, ending at $0.48. 
NRW Holdings Limited (ASX:NWH) has scored a $620 million contract to deliver rail earthworks construction in Western Australia. The civil and mining contractor will prepare earthworks for a rail project between Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill Mine site and Port Hedland from this month. Shares in NRW Holdings gained 3.52 per cent today, ending at $1.47. 
Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) gained 1.52 per cent after the energy giant inked a nine-year deal to buy natural gas from BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX:BHP) petroleum arm and an arm of ExxonMobil from 2014. 
Profit results

Shares in Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Limited (ASX:SOL) firmed 2.21 per cent as the investment company booked a 26 per cent fall in its full year net profit but spruiked an optimistic outlook for its major investment, coal producer New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX:NHC)
Shares in Brickworks Limited (ASX:BKW) rose 2.8 per cent after the building products manufacturer almost doubled its annual net profit, affirmed its commitment to cost cutting and forecast growth in the year ahead. 
Shares in Oroton Group Limited (ASX:ORL) fell 5.86 per cent after flagging another year of transition for the fashion brands retailer, despite improving its annual net profit by 10 per cent. 
Best and worst performers 
While most sectors closed higher materials soared 224 points to close at 10,004.
The only major sector to end in negative territory was consumer staples, easing 7 points to close at 9,944 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU), rising 20.52 per cent to close at $0.68. Shares in St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) and Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) also closed stronger. 
The worst performing stock was BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL), dropping 2.91 per cent to close at $5.00. Shares in Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) and Amcor Limited (ASX:AMC) also closed lower. 
Gold is trading at $US1,362.70 an ounce.
Light crude is $2.65 higher at $US108.07 a barrel. 

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying 94.9 US cents. 

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