The Australian share market closed 0.52 of a per cent up as miners were buoyed by higher commodity prices and the big four banks traded higher.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points up to finish at 5,395.
The value of trades was $4.04 billion on volume of 661 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 34 points up.
World share markets look set to record a subdued first quarter. The NASDAQ is trading down 0.5 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down over 1 per cent for the first quarter with one session to go, while the S&P/ASX200 is only slightly up from New Year.
US tapering, Russian aggression in Ukraine and a contracting China have all weighed on sentiment so far in 2014.
Shares in Recall Holdings Ltd (ASX:REC)
have also jumped after the information management company announced it has inked a ten year deal with HSBC. Recall will provide document and information management to the global bank equivalent to 45 million cartons of documents and additional files. Shares in Recall Holdings closed 2.88 per cent up at $4.65.
Shares SP Ausnet (ASX:SPN)
have traded higher after a trading halt this morning where the company announced it was terminating a service deal with major shareholder Singapore Power. SP Ausnet had flagged winding back the deal in its first half results announcement in November. The deal included external management of SP Ausnet assets by Singapore Power subsidiary SPI as well as IT services.
The company says restructuring of its IT services should not exceed $7.5 million. Singapore Power recently sold a 19.9 per cent stake in SP AusNet to State Grid Corporation of China. SP Ausnet will pay a $50 million to end the deal early. Shares in SP Ausnet closed 0.38 per cent up at $1.31.
Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN)
has recorded its worst night of market share since the current OzTam ratings system began. The troubled broadcaster was only able to gain an audience share of 5.9 per cent last night, only just eclipsing its own digital offering ONE which booked 5 per cent of audience. Only TEN’s nightly news was able to sneak into the top fifteen programs. The result comes a speculation mounts the channel may be a takeover target of News Corp. Shares in Ten Network closed 1.85 per cent up.
Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW)
is set to takeover Nexus Energy Limited (ASX:NXS)
after announcing a proposal to acquire the company. Both companies have entered into a conditional merger implementation agreement under which Seven has proposed to buy Nexus shares for $0.02 cash per share.
While the deal is subject to conditions Nexus’ board has unanimously backed the offer and it will be put to a shareholder vote in June. Shares in Nexus are still in a trading halt and last traded at $0.059 on 20 February. Shares in Seven Group Holdings have gained 0.36 per cent.
The best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Energy adding 122 points to close at 13,636. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, losing 20 points to close at 9,747 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Reject Shop Limited (ASX:TRS)
, rising 6.96 per cent to close at $10.14. Shares in WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED (ASX:WHC)
and Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN)
, dropping 3.89 per cent to close at $7.41. Shares in Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA)
and Veda Group Limited (ASX:VED)
also closed lower.
Gold is buying $US1,296 an ounce. Light crude is $0.39 up at $US101.67 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9228.