Market Wrap: Aus shares back in positive territory

Market Reports

The Australian share market reversed a run of losses to close 0.5 per cent higher today. It was helped along by a surprise rise in building approvals as well as positive data out of the US.
 
Strong building approvals figures also helped the Aussie dollar today, it pushed above $US0.81 following the news.
 
Energy remained the major drag today with dire predictions for the value of energy companies such as Santos should the oil price remain at current lows. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points up to finish at 5,382.
 
The value of trades was $3.92 billion on volume of 760 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 30 points up.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Qantas Airways Limited’s (ASX:QAN) have dipped as its biggest shareholder lowers its interest in the company in the same week the company’s stock hit a four-year high. US investment giant Franklin Resources has cut its stake in Australia’s largest airline to 14.22 per cent. Qantas closed 0.78 per cent down at $2.54
 
Benitec Biopharma Limited (ASX:BLT) has seen its share price jump 2.5 per cent as it welcomes publications of independent research supporting Tribetarna for additional cancer indications. The biotechnology company believes the findings from universities in Sydney and Germany provide potential for its Tribetarna program to expand beyond lung cancer. Shares in Benitec closed 2.56 per cent up at $1.00.
 
Australian Ethical Investment Limited (ASX:AEF) is expecting to show its net profit fell in the first half of the 2015 financial year, when it releases interim results at the end of February. 
 
Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) has completed patient recruitment in the FOXFIRE Global randomised controlled clinical study. 
 
Integrated Research Limited (ASX:IRI) expects to deliver profit growth in the first half of the 2015 financial year on the back of strong sales across all product lines.  
 
Ziptel Limited (ASX:ZIP) has seen its share price jump on news that phase one of ZipT’s pilot test returned positive results.
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was telco services adding 1.1 per cent to close at 2,099. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 10,868 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI), rising 15.69 per cent to close at $0.29. Shares in Aveo Group (ASX:AOG) and Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY), dropping 9.09 per cent to close at $0.30. Shares in APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN) and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) also closed lower.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,208 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.72 up at $US48.65 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8110

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