It has been a strong finish to the trading day for the Australian share market, bouncing at the open and continuing to gain momentum throughout the session before closing 1.2 per cent higher. The financials space was the star performer this session with gains in all of the big four banks as well as many of the insurance companies. While most sectors finished the day in the black, the energy space fared the worst after the price of oil continued to ease off overnight.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 66 points up to finish at 5,544.
The value of trades was $6.0 billion on volume of 835 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
On the futures market the SPI is 59 points up.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) says its debt reduction strategy will continue, to reaffirm the company as the lowest cost seaborne supplier of iron ore into China. Fortescue CEO Nev Power says at current iron ore prices the company will continue to generate strong cash flows and focus on strengthening its balance sheet. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Limited closed 1.67 per cent up at $6.69.
Santos Limited (ASX:STO) Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher has outlined the company’s new strategy to drive shareholder value as well as increase sales of LNG at Gladstone.
Creso Pharma Ltd’s (ASX:CPH) subsidiary, Hemp-Industries, has delivered a 700 kilogram shipment of hemp protein to one of the largest bakeries in Slovakia.
Mineral sands company, Iluka Resources Ltd (ASX:ILU), has confirmed that its merger with rival company, Sierra Rutile Ltd, is now complete.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Financials adding 1.69 per cent to close at 6,371. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 0.36 per cent to close at 8,893 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources, rising 8.51 per cent to close at $0.51. Shares in QBE Insurance and Orocobre also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Estia Health, dropping 3.26 per cent to close at $2.67. Shares in Mayne Pharma and Infigen Energy also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,178 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.09 lower at $US49.84 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US74.97.