Market Wrap: Iron ore lift supports ASX gains

Market Reports

Lifted by strong offshore leads the Australian share market bounced at open, sustained gains and closed 0.7 per cent higher as concerns about China’s volatile stock market eased. Mining stocks took charge on the back of a rebound in the iron ore price hitting a one-month high and stock surge from Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG).  
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 39.5 points to close at 5,624. 
 
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 728 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 28 points higher.
 
Company news
 
National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) has tied up the sale of its shareholding in US agribusiness bank subsidiary, Great Western Bancorp (NYSE:GWB). The bank expects to receive net proceeds of about $1.46 billion from the sale, representing a $396 million loss relative to Great Western Bancorp’s book value. Shares in National Australia Bank rose 0.92 per cent to close at $34.17. 
 
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) has improved is annual financial results on the back of a stronger performance from Tigerair and after a period of lowering non-fuel costs. Australia’s second largest carrier booked a net loss of $93.8 million, narrowing from a loss of $355.6 million the year before. Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings rose 1.12 per cent to close at $0.45. 
 
Marine logistics company MMA Offshore Limited (ASX:MRM) has flagged a $120 million impairment charge against the carrying value of its assets. 
 
Oil and gas group Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) has lowered its capex and forecast a fall in oil production but higher gas sales volumes for the year ahead. 
 
Mining company Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) has posted an improved preliminary result over the 2015 financial year but warned of lower production levels in the year ahead. 
 
Fellow miner Sandfire Resources NL (ASX:SFR) has reported annual copper output slightly below last year but stronger gold production over the 2015 financial year. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector was materials, rising 1.5 per cent to close at 8,535. 
The sector with the fewest gains was utilities, adding 0.05 per cent to close at 6,529 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG), rising 7.43 per cent to close at $1.88. Shares in Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) and BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Limited (ASX:NEC), dropping 4.21 per cent to close at $1.48. Shares in Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) and Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) also closed lower. 
 
IPOs 
 
Pureprofile Limited (ASX:PPL) started trading today. The profile marketing and insights technology business floated with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.54 and closed at $0.50.  
 
Commodities
 
Gold is buying $US1,098 an ounce. 
Light crude is $0.59 higher at $US47.98 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7321.