Market Wrap: Aus shares hold onto gains

Market Reports

The Australian share market managed to hold on to most of the days gains ending just over one per cent higher at the close. 
Positive sentiment fed through from higher US stocks overnight and investors are again looking optimistically at commodities with energy and bank stocks leading the charge in today’s trade. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 52 points up to finish at 5,189. 
The value of trades was $6.14 billion on volume of 848 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 45 points up.
Economic news

Minutes from the Reserve Bank’s board meeting reinforced the view that there was no imminent rate rise expected however the rising Aussie dollar is providing concern with the minutes revealing:
“Members noted that an appreciating exchange rate could complicate progress in activity rebalancing towards the non-mining sectors of the economy”.

Company news
Oil Search Limiteds (ASX:OSH) quarterly report shows that the PNG LNG project has achieved its highest quarterly production since coming on line. Costs are low for the project however slumping commodity prices meant first quarter sales fell 34 per cent to $404 million from the same time last year. Shares in Oil Search still jumped 4.98 per cent to $6.53.
Neometals Limited (ASX:NMT) says that it has entered into formal agreements for an exclusive licence of technology for the extraction and recovery of metals and minerals. Subsidiary Alphamet Management will be responsible for the commercialization of the product for a 25 per cent share of proceeds. Shares in Neometals rose 3.61 per cent to $0.43. 
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) continued their downward spiral following yesterday’s news falling demand could hit full year results prompting the airline to cut some routes. 
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) announced strong first quarter production including an 11 per cent jump in iron ore shipments despite increasingly volatile commodity prices. Limited (ASX:UBN) says it has caught up on a back log of sales from the December quarter. 
And Aspen Group (ASX:APZ) says it is continuing talks with Mill Hill Capital despite its Heads of Agreement terminating. 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was energy adding 3.75 per cent to close at 7,819. The worst performing sector was industrials, losing 0.55 per cent to close at 5,089 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Independence Group, rising 8.41 per cent to close at $3.35. Shares in Western Areas and Sandfire Resources also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Liquified Natural Gas, dropping 9.52 per cent to close at $0.57. Shares in APN Outdoor and Qantas also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,235 an ounce. Light crude is $0.52 lower at $US41.19 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 77.92 US cents. 

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?