Market Wrap - 26/02/10, 5.40pm EST

Market Reports

The local share market has closed the week on a high note with gains in mining stocks and the financials helping to lift the market today, with the banks gaining on an upbeat trading update from major bank ANZ. The S&P/ASX 200 Index finished 44 points higher at 4,638 and is up 3 points on the week while on the futures market, the SPI200’s up 28. Looking to the U.S. and on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial index fell 81 points on the four trading days this week. The S&P500 Index dropped 6, the NASDAQ declined 10 points and the 100 index also fell 10 points. To company news around this afternoon: Nickel producer Minara Resources Ltd (ASX:MRE) has reported a profit of $48.5 million for the year to December 31, 2009 after posting a loss of $19.8 million in 2008. The company says the results were driven by record production of 32,977 tonnes of nickel and 2,350 tonnes of cobalt at its Murrin Murrin joint venture project in Lenora in Western Australia. CEO Peter Johnston says the company recorded a good profit, delivered record production, continued to reduce costs across the business and increased its cash reserves. Mr Johnston says in 2010 the company will continue to focus on all the fundamentals and explore opportunities for growth. Shares in Minara Resources closed 0.71% weaker at $0.695. Oil and gas company Nexus Energy Ltd (ASX:NXS) has reported a profit of $21 million for the six months to December 31, 2009 compared to a loss of $68 million for the first half of fiscal 2009. Sales revenue from the company’s Longtom project, located in the Gippsland Basin off Victoria, came to $9 million. Nexus says the project is expected to provide the company with stable cash flow over the next ten plus years on the back of a gas sales agreement to supply Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) 350 petajoules of gas. Shares in Nexus Energy closed 2.17% higher at $0.235. Also making news: Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) has announced the retirement of its inaugural chief financial officer Christopher Catlow, effective from May 31 this year. And airline Air New Zealand Ltd (ASX:AIZ) says earnings for the first half more than doubled to NZ$56 million thanks to aggressive cost cutting despite a 15% fall in revenue. In the best and worst performers: The best performing sector at close was the Utilities index, up 103 points at 4,309. At the other end, the worst performing sector at close was the Telco Services index; which fell 10 points at 1,022. The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Eldorado Gold, shares gained 5.52% to $13.96. Shares in Woolworths and AGL Energy also improved. The worst performing stock was QBE Insurance Group, shares dropped 6.96% to $21.40. Eastern Star Gas and Energy World Corp shares also closed lower today. The Aussie dollar is currently buying 89.02 U.S cents and is down just under a cent on the week. In commodities, gold is trading at $1,108.25 U.S an ounce, and is down $10.20 on the week. Finally, oil is up 39 cents at $78.56 U.S a barrel.

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