The Australian share market has closed at a fresh five year high with investors toasting an increased production guidance from BHP, which finished as the days most heavily traded stocks. The BHP gain led the materials sector to be the strongest performer on the local bourse, while financials stocks also performed strongly, with CBA and Westpac edging towards 2013 highs and ANZ touching a new record high of $32.34.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21 points up to finish at 5,373. The value of trades was $4.1 billion on volume of 851 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 Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG)
On the futures market the SPI is 26 points up.
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
has signed agreements to raise $40 million through an issue of convertible notes, ensuring it has funds to progress its Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project. The raising will comprise the issue of options to Noble Resources International, which will invest $20 million, and an investor consortium which will invest the remaining $20 million. Shares in Sundance Resources closed 15.38 per cent down at $0.11.
Engineering services company Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)
has told shareholders its first half will be challenging due to continued tight trading conditions, with the market downturn forcing further redundancies. Despite the short term pain, Bradken says there has been a slight recent uptick in orders, which should see its full year performance come in broadly unchanged. Shares in Bradken closed 5.74 per cent up at $6.45.
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
shares jumped 2.35 per cent after the global miner lifted its full-year iron ore production guidance, after posting a 23 per cent lift in production in the September quarter.
Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR)
shares firmed 1.99 per cent after the property investor reaffirmed operating earnings per share guidance for fiscal 2014, saying housing volumes and pricing are starting to improve.
APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN)
shares leapt 8.33 per cent after it entered discussions with private equity firm Quadrant to sell the remaining interest in its outdoor advertising business for $69 million.
Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE)
shares gained 3.33 per cent after it sold its 50 per cent share in the Transfield Worley New Zealand JV to existing partner Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR)
for $30 million.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 127 points to close at 9,973.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 48 points to close at 13,972.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was SMS Management & Technology Limited (ASX:SMX)
, rising 6.42 per cent to close at $4.64. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO)
and Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
, dropping 15.38 per cent to close at $0.11. Shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)
and Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,315 an ounce. Light crude is $1.59 down at $US99.22 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9653.