Market Wrap: ASX shrugs off Obama rejection

Market Reports

The Australian share market maintained its soaring gains in afternoon trade to close 1.6 per cent higher, with investors apparently unconcerned by US President Obama’s rejection of a debt ceiling proposal from the Republicans. All the major sectors finished the day trading stronger, with healthcare leading gains. The Aussie dollar hit a three week high today, in anticipation of a strong Chinese import report due tomorrow. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 80 points up to finish at 5,227. Over the week the index gained 19 points. The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 696 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 93 points up.

US Indices
 
Wall Street, where US stocks have had a mixed four trading days this week amid the chaos unfolding in Washington: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 130 points. The S&P 500 Index added 14 points, the Nasdaq lost 14 points and the 100 Index dropped 3 points. 
 
Company news  
 
DEXUS Property Group (ASX:DXS) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are proposing a $2.3 billion buy-out of Commonwealth Property Office Fund (ASX:CPA). Dexus currently holds a 14.9 per cent stake in CPA, however is eager to buy all of the group to make it an unlisted company, under the proposed consortium with the Canadian pension fund. Shares in Dexus closed 0.96 per cent up at $1.05. 
 
Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA) will not lift its takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) for the time being, despite a higher competing bid from Canadian suitor Saputo. Bega says it is comfortable with its present offer based on its view that a strong Australian-owned and listed dairy company would create value and improve returns for shareholders and dairy farmers. Shares in Bega closed 3.24 per cent up at $3.82. 
 
Diversified services company UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) shares firmed 3.03 per cent after engineering chief Russell Waugh stepped down due to his alleged connection to the bribery scandal engulfing his former employer, Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI)
 
Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) shares surged to a two month high today after it announced the acquisition of the entire mesenchymal stem cell business of New York listed Osiris Therapeutics. The final price could reach as high as $US85 million depending on progress of developing the acquired products.
 
Best and worst performers

All major sectors finished higher. The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 197 points to close at 13,828.
The sector with the fewest gains was Real estate investment trusts, adding 14 points to close at 1,034.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC), rising 10.59 per cent to close at $1.23. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP) and Independence Group NL(ASX:IGO) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC), dropping 6.67 per cent to close at $0.42. Shares in Carsales.com Limited (ASX:CRZ) and Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) also closed lower. 
 
IPO's

Ozforex Group Limited (ASX:OFX) started trading today. The foreign exchange service company listed with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $2.59 and a closed at $2.56.    
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,294.50 an ounce, and is down $25.10 over the week. Light crude is $1.40 lower at $US103.01 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $0.9469 and is $0.002 up over the week. 

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