Pushing higher: Aus shares close up 0.73%

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It has been strong end to the session for the Australian share market, after following positive leads from Wall Street overnight. The local bourse opened in the black and managed to maintain that momentum throughout the session and ended up closing the session 0.73 per cent higher. While most sectors finished the day in positive territory, consumer discretionaries did the bulk of the heavy lifting this session with APN Outdoor (ASX:APN) and OohMedia (ASX:OML) both making stellar gains after announcing the two advertising companies would merge.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 40 points up to finish at 5,585.

The value of trades was $6.2 billion on volume of 936 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 37 points up

Economic news

According to latest figures from the Westpac Melbourne Institute consumer confidence in Australia has slipped to its lowest level since April dropping by 3.9 per cent for December. Economists believe the drop in sentiment is closely linked to economic pull-back of 0.5 per cent in the September quarter.

Company news

Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) has been suspended from official quotation immediately, pending the release of an announcement by the infant formula manufacturer. The updated announcement reflects the impact of trading conditions on the company’s expected financial results. The suspension is expected to last until next Wednesday or when the announcement is released to the market.Shares in Bellamy’s Australia Limited last traded at $6.68.

APN Outdoor Group (ASX:APO) and oOh!media Ltd (ASX:OML) have agreed to merge to form a leading, diversified media group. The Merged Group will have a market capitalisation of $1.6 billion.

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) has announced it has sold 120,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate from the Mt Cattlin project in Western Australia.

Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) has entered binding contracts to acquire two travel businesses – Redfern Travel and Andrew Jones Travel.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer discretionaries adding 1.84 per cent to close at 2,094. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 0.19 per cent to close at 9,749 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), rising 14.39 per cent to close at $3.02. Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Sky Network (ASX:SKT), dropping 10.68 per cent to close at $4.10. Shares in A2 Milk (ASX:A2M) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) also closed lower.

Commodites and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,160 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.09 lower at $US53.43 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7490.