Jumping 1 per cent at open the Australian share market sustained most gains to start the week 0.6 per cent stronger. Buoyed by a positive end to the week on global markets local investors were in a buying mood as optimism reigned.
In the wake of last week’s US debt deal the local benchmark today hit its highest point since mid 2008. Mining and consumer staples sectors were star performers with only health, telco and utilities sagging into the red by close.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rallied 30 points to close the first day of the trading week at 5,352.
The value of trades was $3.4 billion on volume of 684 million 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 Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW)
On the futures market the SPI is 21 points higher.
Australia’s spent less money last month. Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (ASX:CBA)
Business Sales Indicator declined 1.4 per cent in September following a rise of a 2.5 per cent the month before. CommSec chief economist Craig James says the decline came at the same time the housing market got a boost and predicts a spending pick-up in the next few months.
Further evidence of housing sector recovery - Australian residential land sales have posted the highest quarterly volume in more than three years. The Housing Industry Association and RP Data Residential Land Report shows land sales grew 18.2 per cent to 17,170 in the second quarter. HIA Chief Economist Harley Dale says, “The recovery in residential land sales in impressive but from a very low base”.
ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
peaked at a record high today, having climbed almost 30 per cent this year. The rise marks a strong year for the financials sector which has risen more than 25 per cent in 2013, compared to a benchmark rise of 15 per cent for the S&P/ASX 200. ANZ’s rival National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
has reached five year highs with a gain of around 45 per cent this year, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
is inching closer to its record high having risen 32 per cent in 2013 while Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
is up almost 20 per cent this year. Shares in ANZ Banking Group gained 0.82 per cent today, ending the session at $32.12.
Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC)
has revealed it is in exclusive negotiations to buy a hospital group in France, adding to its facilities across Australia, Europe and Asia. The private hospital operator says its French subsidiary is in talks to acquire Medipsy though the value of the deal has not been disclosed. Shares in Ramsay Health Care rose 0.81 per cent today, ending the session at $37.15.
Shares in Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA)
advanced 5.15 per cent ahead of a meeting tomorrow where the dairy producer’s shareholders are tipped to sweeten their cash and scrip bid for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. (ASX:WCB)
Shares in Wotif.com Holdings Limited (ASX:WTF)
fell 0.64 per cent after the online travel agent’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) when its Chairman conceded the company's core accommodation and Asian businesses have not produced the growth of earlier years.
Shares in Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX:MDL)
gained 4.4 per cent after the mining company’s third quarter operations review confirmed its Mineral Sands Project in West Africa remains on track for commissioning in the first quarter of 2014.
Shares in Mercantile Investment Company Limited (ASX:MVT)
rose 4 per cent after the investment company launched a proportional takeover offer for coal seam gas explorer Galilee Energy Limited (ASX:GLL)
Best and worst performers
The strongest performing sector was materials, surging 116 points to close at 9,847.
The weakest sector today was health care, losing 34 points to close at 14,025 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
, rising 31.31 per cent to close at $0.13. Shares in Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
and CuDeco Limited (ASX:CDU)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)
, dropping 5.59 per cent to close at $1.35. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC)
and Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN)
also closed lower.
Australian Industrial REIT (ASX:ANI)
started trading today. The Australian industrial real estate investor floated with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $2.10 and a closed at $2.10.
Gold is trading at $US1,318 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.14 higher and buying $US100.81 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying 96.73 US cents.