The Australian share market rose at open but finished off the high following the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest meeting minutes. Australia’s central bank affirmed its neutral bias and gave no indication it is in a rush to hike rates which now sit at a record low of 2.5 per cent. While the local currency dropped below $US0.94 in response most sectors managed to hold in positive territory to end higher. Blue chip miners were boosted by upbeat first quarter production reports from Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
and OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL)
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 29 points today to close at 5,388.
The value of trades was $3.67 billion on volume of 648 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market the SPI is 26 points higher.
Beacon Lighting Group Limited’s (ASX:BLX)
stock shone on the company’s first day of trade on the Australian Securities Exchange today. The specialist lighting retailer floated with an issue price of $0.66, opened at $1.05 and closed more than 60 per cent stronger at $1.06, making one of the strongest IPO debuts over the year.
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)
has welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s plans to construct a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek. The airline’s CEO Alan Joyce says Sydney is the key gateway for air traffic in-and-out of Australia and the benefits of having two major airports will be felt nationwide. Shares in Qantas Airways ended the session steady at $1.18.
Shares in Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
rose 0.14 per cent after the global miner affirmed its annual output guidance and achieved record first quarter iron ore production and shipments.
Shares in OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL)
gained 2.4 per cent after the miner posted a dip in first quarter copper output but a rise in gold production on the back of improved productivity.
Shares in Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF)
advanced 2.01 per cent after the agricultural chemicals supplier flagged job cuts as a result of shutting-down at its manufacturing plant in New Zealand.
Shares in Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX:IAG)
closed 0.55 per cent higher after the insurer confirmed its annual guidance of between 3 and 5 per cent premium growth.
Best and worst performers
All major sector ended stronger: The best performing sector was utilities rising 51 points to close at 5,648. The sector with the smallest gains was health care, adding 6 points to close at 14,018 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Magellan Financial Group Limited (ASX:MFG)
, rising 6.15 per cent to close at $12.08. Shares in PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA)
and Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was M2 Group Limited (ASX:MTU)
, dropping 4.15 per cent to close at $5.31. Shares in Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP)
and Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN)
also closed lower.
Gold is buying $US1,318 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.31 higher at $US104.05 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9391.