Market Wrap: ASX closes 0.4% stronger

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed 0.4 per cent stronger, spending the day in positive territory after the US finally reached a temporary budget deal and eased the nerves of markets worldwide. Locally, healthcare stocks led the gains, while the big banks were also strong. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points up to finish at 5,283. 
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 883 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).
On the futures market the SPI is 21 points up.
Economic news

NAB has released its business survey for the September quarter, indicating that while Businesses gained confidence due to political factors in the period, conditions fell to their weakest level in four years. The survey showed current business conditions slumped to –7 points in the quarter, from –6 in the June quarter. Meanwhile, business confidence hit a 2 year high, recovering to +3 points from -1 in the June quarter. The slumping conditions were most keenly felt in the mining sector, which fell to a 14.5 year low, while manufacturing, retail, wholesale, transport, utilities and construction were also poor. 
Company news 
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has reaffirmed its full year production guidance after increasing its September quarter output by 61 per cent to 25.9 million tonnes. The miner expects full year shipments to fall within previously issued guidance of 127 and 133 million tonnes.
Shares in Fortescue closed 2.96 per cent down at $5.24. 
Nucoal Resources Limited (ASX:NCR) is making preparations to sue the NSW government and corrupt former Labor minister Ian Macdonald for tens of millions of dollars in damages following an investigation into its controversial Doyles Creek exploration licence by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The coal explorer is also considering launching legal proceedings against NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher if he fails to decide on the future of the Hunter Valley tenement by the end of January 2014. Shares in NuCoal closed 11.76 per cent up at $0.08. 
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) shares eased despite the gold miner maintaining its full year production guidance despite increasing gold output by 27 per cent in the September quarter.
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) shares fell 1.35 per cernt after it posted a 27 per cent fall in third-quarter sales after a temporary interruption at its Pluto LNG project. Revenue declined to $1.34 billion, from $1.83 billion a year earlier, falling short of analyst estimates.
Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) shares slipped 1.72 per cent after widening its full-year loss to $285 million. The network has announced a new four-year, $200 million debt facility, backed by its major shareholders.
Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) shares jumped 5.89 per cent to finish as the days best performing stock after it and the USG Corporation entered into an agreement to form a strategic joint venture that will deliver a portfolio of building products across Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.
Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 130 points to close at 13,905.
The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, losing 48 points to close at 9,827.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Boral Limited (ASX:BLD), rising 5.89 per cent to close at $5.30. Shares in Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) and Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL), dropping 4.44 per cent to close at $3.44. Shares in Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,279 an ounce. Light crude is $1.08 up at $US102.29 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9442. 

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