Market Wrap: ASX cheers gains on Christmas Eve

Market Reports

The Australian share market enjoyed some Christmas cheer today and ended 0.3 per cent higher on the shortened last trading day of the week. Most local sectors lifted after Wall Street hit all time highs as the US economy was shown to have expanded at its quickest pace in 11 years. Local trade will now pause for the Christmas Day and Boxing Day public holidays before returning for the last week of the year on Monday.
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 13.6 points today, extending the weekly gain of 56 points to finish at 5,395 on Christmas Eve. 
 
The value of trades was $1.9 billion on volume of 280 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 23 points higher.
 
Wall Street
 
America’s major indexes have put in a mixed performance over the two trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 1.2 per cent, the S&P 500 Index has lifted 0.6 per cent, the NASDAQ is steady and the 100 Index has eased 0.1 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) has bought a boutique office development in Melbourne for $76.2 million. The property investor says 710 Collins Street includes commercial office and retail space and is entirely occupied. Shares in Abacus Property Group slipped 0.33 per cent to end the trading week at $3.00. 
 
Metals X Limited (ASX:MLX) has expanded its footprint in the Central Murchison district of Western Australia. The mining company describes the purchase of the bulk of the Nannine Goldfield for $195,000 as an excellent, bargain-priced acquisition. Shares in Metals X lifted 3.36 per cent to end the trading week at $0.77. 
 
Shares in Virtus Health Limited (ASX:VRT) rose 2.9 per cent after announcing it will expand its presence in Ireland. Australia’s largest IVF provider has agreed to buy a fertility centre based in Dublin for about $9 million, building on recent acquisitions in Queensland and Tasmania.  
 
Shares in Mobile Embrace Limited (ASX:MBE) ended flat after buying mobile advertising business Eggmobi. The mobile payments and mobile marketing company says the total consideration of the deal is worth about $1.4 million with extra earn-out contingent on performance.
 
Best and worst performers
 
Most sectors ended higher - The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts, adding 0.9 per cent to close at 1,226. One of the few sectors to close in the red was telco services, losing 0.9 per cent to close at 2,068 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA), jumping 11.24 per cent to close at $0.49. Shares in Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) and Skilled Group Limited (ASX:SKE) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST), dropping 5.12 per cent to close at $1.39. Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities 
 
Gold is buying $US1,178 an ounce, down $19.35 over the shortened trading week. 
Light crude is $1.86 higher at $US57.12 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $0.8108, down $0.0081 this week.