The Australian share market climbed 0.9 per cent throughout the session to end just off session highs but back above 5,400. Upbeat offshore leads boosted local stocks out of a week of losses marked by continuing uncertainty over the US Federal Reserve’s tapering timeline.
Today’s gains across Asian markets were aided by incoming US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen backing the central bank’s monthly $US85 billion bond-buying program. Across the local board all major sectors ended higher fuelled by strength among energy and banking stocks.
Looking ahead central banks and stimulus efforts will be in focus next week with the release of minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) and US Federal Reserve’s October policy meetings.
The S&P/ASX 200 index soared 46 points today to erase the week’s falls and end the week 1 point higher at 5,402.
The value of trades was $4.03 billion on volume of 717 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is pointing 47 points stronger.
US indices have gained ground over the trading week so far: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 282 points, the S&P 500 Index has added 43 points, the Nasdaq has added 115 points and the 100 Index has added 94 points.
The ASX welcomed its 73rd listing this year with Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN)
floating at midday today. The online job outsourcing company debuted at $2.50 cents per share, a 400 per cent premium to the 50 cent issue price and briefly giving the company a market value of more than $1 billion. By close the stock has flown 220 per cent higher to finish its first day of trade at $1.60.
FNN speaks with Freelancer Chairman and CEO Matt Barrie just after the listing ceremony about his motivation for listing and expectations for the stock.
As one company entered the exchange another exited - Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
will be heading to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) next month after announcing plans to de-list from the ASX in October. The Queensland based oil, shale and coal company has advised its headquarters will remain in Brisbane and it will continue to invest and develop its Australian assets. Once Linc Energy moves to the Singapore Exchange it plans to divest or demerge its $440 million coal division next year. Linc Energy’s stock dropped 11.95 per cent today, ending its last day of trade of the ASX at $0.99.
The three-way tussle for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co (ASX:WCB)
heated up this week with every suitor remaining keen to conquer. Warrnambool entered into a trading halt today to go into talks with Canadian dairy giant Saputo about revising its $8 cash bid. Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA)
boosted its cash and scrip offer to an implied value of about $8.87 per share on Thursday while Murray Goulburn increased its all-cash bid to $9 per share on Wednesday.
Shares in Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC)
dropped after reports the grain handler’s proposed $3.4 billion takeover by US grain giant Archer Daniels Midland may struggle to get the green light. A decision on the deal is expected by the Australian Government on December 17, 2013 but reports emerged today Prime Minister Tony Abbott could seek to block approval to a foreign buyer.
Best and worst performers
All major sectors ended higher: The best performing sector was energy, jumping 113 points to close at 13,876.
The sector with the fewest gains was real estate investment trusts, adding 6 points to close at 1,049 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Sirius Resources N.L.(ASX:SIR)
, rising 7.17 per cent to close at $2.54. Shares in Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM)
also closed stronger.
The worst performing stock was Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
, dropping 11.95 per cent to close at $0.99. Shares in Mermaid Marine Australia Limited (ASX:MRM)
and Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,289 an ounce, down $20.71 over the week.
Light crude is $0.12 lower at $US93.76 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9342, down $0.012 over the week.