The Australian share market has closed higher for its twelfth straight session, representing a record run of gains. Traders have been buoyed by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision on Tuesday to cut rates to a record low. Strong gains from Wall Street overnight also supported this morning’s bounce but local stocks finished off highs ahead of tonight’s US jobs report.
Today local stocks pared gains as the RBA’s quarterly monetary policy statement lowered the nation’s outlook for inflation and growth. Sentiment was also hit as the nation’s construction sector was shown to have remained in contraction territory for the third straight month.
In the week ahead the RBA will continue to remain in focus with key speeches and local earnings season will ramp up. On the data front official employment figures are set for release on Thursday and data is due on the housing sector.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 9 points today, widening the weekly gain of 232 points to close at 5,820.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 714 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
On the futures market the SPI is 2 points higher.
America's major indexes have marched higher over the trading week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 4 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has advanced 3.3 per cent. The NASDAQ has advanced 2.7 per cent. The 100 Index has advanced 2.5 per cent.
Shares in News Corp (ASX:NWS)
lifted after improving its second quarter revenue by 2 per cent to $US2.28 billion. The global media giant’s result was aided by book publishing and online real estate assets but offset by weakness from declining newspaper revenues. Shares in News Corp gained 2.6 per cent to end the week at $19.75.
Sealink Travel Group Limited (ASX:SLK)
rose after boosting its first half net profit by 37 per cent to $4.7 million and flagging an even stronger second half. The ferry group’s Managing Director Jeff Ellison says the period was one of consolidation and the business continued to build on strong momentum. Shares in Sealink Travel Group rose 4.41 per cent to end the week at $2.37.
Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH)
lifted 2.25 per cent after posting higher profits and securing control of Tigerair Australia. Australia’s second largest carrier delivered a second quarter underlying pre-tax profit of $55.3 million.
Shares in BPS Technology Limited (ASX:BPS)
jumped almost 13 per cent after exceeding its prospectus forecast. The provider of technology platforms generated a first half net profit of $3.3 million, about 14 per cent ahead of expectations.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was energy, adding 0.7 per cent to close at 11,526.
The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 1.2 per cent to close at 2,295 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)
, rising 8.07 per cent to close at $3.08. Shares in Sirius Resources N.L. (ASX:SIR)
and Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI)
, dropping 6.67 per cent to close at $0.21. Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI)
and REA Group Limited (ASX:REA)
also closed lower.
The price of gold is buying $US1,268 an ounce, up $6.84 over the week.
Light crude is $2.03 higher at $US50.48 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7833, up $0.0046 over the week.