It has been a positive end to the trading week for the Australian share market, despite lack lustre leads from Wall Street which closed flat. The local bourse jumped at the open and managed to pick up steam towards the end of the session before closing 0.6 per cent higher. Consumer Staples charged higher this session, with stellar performances from Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) and Metcash (ASX:MTS) which both gained over 3 per cent. The Healthcare space also rallied today with Sirtex (ASX:SRX) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) both making solid gains.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 34 points up to finish at 5,776. Over the week the index gained 46 points.
The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 812 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 25 points up.
US major indexes dropped over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 0.7 per cent. The S&P 500 Index slipped 0.8 per cent. The NASDAQ has lost 0.6 per cent. The 100 Index has retreated 0.2 per cent.
APN Outdoor Group (ASX:APO) and oOhMedia (ASX:OML) have provided an update to the market on its $1.6 billion proposed merger. The companies say the ACCC has rescheduled the provisional date for the announcement of its decision with respect to the merger between the two billboard giants. A decision is expected to be handed down on Thursday, 4th of May 2017. APO and OML remain confident that the merger will not lessen competition in the media landscape. Shares in APN Outdoor closed 0.36 per cent up at $5.64.
Hunter Hall International Limited (ASX:HHL) has announced it has entered into a merger agreement with fund manager, Pengana Holdings Pty Ltd.
Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) and New Zealand media and entertainment company, NZME Limited (ASX:NZM) have agreed with the New Zealand Commerce Commission to extend their proposed merger date.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) has announced its Chairman, Jan du Plessis will retire, after serving as chair for over eight years.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Staples adding 1.8 per cent to close at 9,517. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 1.1 per cent to close at 1,342 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mantra Group (ASX:MTR), rising 5.3 per cent to close at $2.78. Shares in CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) and Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA), dropping 6.16 per cent to close at $4.57. Shares in Aconex (ASX:ACX) and Vocus Communications (ASX:VOC) also closed lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,198 an ounce, over the week it lost $27.63.
Light crude is $0.66 lower at $US49.62 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7519, it lost 0.8 of a cent over the week.