Market Wrap: Aus shares extend gains

Market Reports

The Australian share market maintained its strength today and traded in a narrow band to finish just over 0.5 per cent higher. 
 
Pessimism on Wall Street failed to flow across to local markets as the Aussie banks made back a major portion of yesterday’s losses. 
 
Gains also came despite the ABS announcing Australia’s terms of trade slipped in September. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points up to finish at 5,476. 
 
The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 881 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Veda Group Limited (ASX:VED), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 21 points up.
 
Company news
 
Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) has risen to one of the day’s best performers on news it’s eyeing first half earnings growth of up to 31 per cent. The casino and entertainment company says the gains are pushed by its international VIP rebate business, but says that variability of win rates will cause volatility. The company says normalised gross revenue is up to $762 million for the year to October 27, which represents a rise of 27 per cent. Echo Entertainment closed 6.21 per cent up at $3.76
 
Shares in Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS) have surged on news it has enrolled its first phase 3 trial patient to test Bronchitol in adults with cystic fibrosis. The specialist pharmaceutical company says the phase 3 trial is operating in accordance with US FDA requirements in a bid to gain approval for use in the US. The company says Bronchitol is approved for marketing for patients over six years in Australia and for patients over 18 in Europe and Israel. Shares in Pharmaxis closed 21.43 per cent higher today at $0.05
 
Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX:IAG) chief, Mike Wilkins says the insurer is on track to deliver on its FY15 guidance. 
 
Mobile commerce company 99 Wuxian (ASX:NNW) has developed a new channel to market China’s leading insurance companies.
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) subsidiary Thiess has won a tender to construct a new hospital on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. 
 
360 Capital Group (ASX:TGP) has announced an increase in earnings forecasts stating the sale of Woniora Rd, Hurstville will realise a gross sale price of $47 million..
 
Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was consumer staples adding 1.07 per cent to close at 10,030. The worst performing sector was materials, losing 0.5 per cent to close at 9,188 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG), rising 8.26 per cent to close at $3.54. Shares in Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) and Pacific Brands Limited (ASX:PBG) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR), dropping 9.09 per cent to close at $0.25. Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) and Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,210 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.78 up at $US82.20 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8758