Market Wrap: Aus shares enjoy a rise

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed 0.7 per cent higher today as investors mulled over the Murray report’s impact on the banks.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 37 points up to finish at 5,373. 
 
The value of trades was $4.3 billion on volume of 728 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Medibank Private (ASX:MPL), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 57 points up.
 
Economic news

ANZ Job ads reported a rise of 0.7 per cent in November with internet job ads gaining popularity, they’re up 10 per cent since this time last year. 
 

 
Company news

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) is set to report its best first half result since 2010. The airline expects to report underlying profit before tax of between $300 million to $350 million for the first six months of the 2015 financial year. Qantas says the strong turnaround in its financial performance is being driven by rapid progress from its $2B transformation program. Lower Aussie dollar fuel prices should also give the airline a $30 million benefit in the interim period. The first half results will be released on 26th Feb, 2015. Shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) surged 13.81 per cent higher to $2.39 on the news. 
 
NewSat Limited (ASX:NWT) says it has won a $9 million satellite capacity contract for its Jabiru-1 Satellite. The 5-year-deal with a South Asian satellite operator is for coverage across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. The arrangement takes the total pre-lunch contracts for Jabiru-1 to $764 million. Shares in NewSat closed 2.63 per cent softer at $0.18. 
 
Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) has outlined plans to cut 260 jobs next year as it strives to stabilise earnings and return to growth. 
 
McAleese Limited (ASX:MCS) has confirmed its full year earnings guidance of between $90 - $95 million for the 2015 financial year despite losing a major contract with Caltex. 
 
Australia’s biggest IVF provider Virtus Health Limited (ASX:VRT) will pay $16 million for a 70 per cent stake in Tasmania’s only IVF provider, TasIVF.
 
Qube Holdings Limited (ASX:QUB) enjoyed a rise after announcing the $74 million acquisition of New Zealand stevedoring and mashalling company ISO Limited. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was health care adding 2.2 per cent to close at 17,388. The worst performing sector was materials, losing 0.16 per cent to close at 8,681points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Qantas, rising 13.81 per cent to close at $2.39. Shares in Resolute Mining and Ten Network also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Skilled Group, dropping 15.89 per cent to close at $1.27 after responding to an ASX query on its stock price that it had no explanation for the recent trading.  Shares in Mermaid Marine and Mount Gibson Iron also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,194 an ounce. Light crude is $0.97 down at $US65.84 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 82.83 US cents.