Market Wrap: ASX higher on US Fed minutes

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed 1.06 per cent up after dovish remarks from the US Fed indicating interest rates would stay as they are a while longer sent investor sentiment higher. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 55 points up to finish at 5,297. 
 
The value of trades was $4.49 billion on volume of 729 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 58 points higher.
 
Economic news

The jobless rate remains steady at at 6.1 per cent after ABS reported a loss of 29,700 jobs in September. It’s below analyst expectations of the creation 15,500 new jobs. However the ABS was forced to revise its August figures down from growth of 121,000 jobs to just 32,100 jobs after admitting a problem with the data. 
 
Company news
 
Wotif.com Holdings Limited (ASX:WTF) says shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the $703 million takeover offer from US online travel group Expedia. 99.9 per cent of votes cast backed the Scheme of Arrangement. Wotif will now seek orders from the Supreme Court of Queensland and once the scheme is approved Wotif shares will be suspended from trading on the ASX at the close of trade on Wednesday 15th October. A fully franked special dividend of 24 cents per share has been declared conditional on the scheme becoming effective and will be paid on Monday 20th October. The deal is subject to approval from the New Zealand Commerce Commission. Shares in Wotif closed 0.61 per cent stronger at $3.30. 
 
National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) has warned its annual cash profit for the year to the end of September will be negatively impacted by up to 14 per cent. The bank has blamed the adjustments on larger UK conduct charges, an impairment on capitalised software, a deferred tax asset provision, and, a R&D tax policy change. NAB now expects to report cash earnings of between $5.1 billion and $5.2 billion in the 2014 financial year, down from $5.9 billion reported last year. Shares in NAB closed 1 per cent higher at $32.47. 
 
Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) has increased cash earnings by 20 per cent to a $301 million as its statutory profit jumped 40 per cent to a record $261 million. 
 
Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) and South Africa’s Kirsh Group will sell the revamped Birkenhead Point outlet centre & marina in Sydney to Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) for $310 million.
 
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, LON:RIO) has finalised the $US50million sale of  its Mozambique coal assets to International Coal Ventures. 
 
And dual listed Alcoa Inc (ASX:AAI, NYSE:AA) has beaten earnings expectations, reporting third quarter revenue of $US6.2 billion.
 
Best and worst performers

All sectors made gains today, the best performing sector was real estate investments trusts adding 2 per cent to close at 1,105. The sector with the least gains was consumer staples, adding 0.1 per cent to close at 9,537 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beadell Resources, rising 10.14 per cent to close at $0.38 after a favourable drill results update. Shares in Northern Star Resources and Transpacific Industries also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Liquified Natural Gas, dropping 10.58 per cent to close at $2.79. Shares in Horizon Oil and Pacific Brands also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,225 an ounce. Light crude is $1.54 lower at $US87.31 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 88.75 US cents. 
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