Market Wrap: ASX heads higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market has extended yesterday’s gain to close 1.4 per cent higher and claw back some of last week’s losses.
 
Momentum was strong in morning trade and solid jobs figures before midday helped drive the optimism into the afternoon.
 
The banks all benefitted from bargain hunting investors while the miners gained on an uptick in the iron ore price overnight.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 78 points up to finish at 5,557. 
 
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 689 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 85 points up.
 
Company news
 
Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) have surged as the company repays $US30.8 million of outstanding debt ahead of schedule. The Pilbara ore miner says it borrowed $US130 million in 2012 and that this final payment will put it 18 months ahead of schedule. Managing Director Morgan Ball says the move aims to reduce risk and simplify the company’s balance sheet. Shares in BC Iron closed 8.45 per cent up at $0.39. 
 
While shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) also pushed higher today despite suggestions its acquisition of Wollongong Day Surgery may not go ahead after the ACCC flagged a number of issues. The ACCC says that competition issues have arisen as the proposed acquisition would see Ramsay acquire its closest competitor in the area. The company also reaffirmed its profit guidance for FY15 which was recently upgraded. Ramsay closed 3.27 per cent up at $61.24 
 
PMP Limited (ASX:PMP) says its three year turnaround strategy is starting to pay dividends. 
 
SCA Property Group (ASX:SCP) has agreed to buy three shopping centres in Tasmania and also purchased Mount Warren Park in Queensland for a combined total of $99.4 million. 
 
TPG Telecom’s Limited (ASX:TPM) takeover of iiNet has been deferred by the ACCC as the regulator seeks further details on the deal’s competitive impacts.
 
Pacific Energy Limited (ASX:PEA) also chalked up some gains on news its won a contract to build a power station in Western Australia. 
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was financials excluding REITs adding 2.1 per cent to close at 7,286. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 0.4 per cent to close at 8,701 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was STW Communications Group Limited (ASX:SGN), rising 8.62 per cent to close at $0.63. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) and Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Spark New Zealand Limited (ASX:SPK), dropping 4.14 per cent to close at $2.55. Shares in Trade Me Group Limited (ASX:TME) and Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE) also closed lower.
 
IPOs

Gateway Lifestyle Limited (ASX:GTY) hits the boards with gains today. The modular homes community company listed with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $2.10 and a closed at $2.08.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,186 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.21 up at $US61.82 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7754