It has been a positive finish to the session for the Australian share market, despite what was a lacklustre trading morning. The local bourse managed to gain some momentum in the last two hours of trade and ended up closing the day 0.55 per cent higher. Utilities ended up being the best performer this session, we also saw some solid gains in Consumer Staples and Consumer Discretionaries. Energy was the worst performer of the day, followed by losses in Materials and the Health Care sector.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 32 points up to finish at 5,956.
The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 706 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 20 points up.
Latest data from Core Logic has shown house prices in Sydney have remained stagnant for the month of April, potentially signalling a slow-down in the housing market. The Core Logic Home Value Index of capital city home prices rose by 0.1 per cent for the month, up 11.2 per cent over the year. Prices rose in six out of 8 capital cities, with Perth faring the worst with a decline of close to 1 per cent.
Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) has responded to the ACCC after it launched legal proceedings against the private hospital giant, relating to alleged misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in the Coffs Harbour region. Ramsay has responded saying it takes its obligations under the Australian consumer law very seriously and it will vigorously defend the allegations. It says it will make no further comment on the matter. Shares in Ramsay Health Care closed 1.39 per cent lower at $70.70.
CIMIC Group’s (ASX:CIM) construction company, Leighton Asia, has been awarded a $436 million building contract from the Hong Kong Government’s Special Administrative region.
TerraCom Limited (ASX:TER) has announced its subsidiary, Orion Mining Pty Ltd, has received the go-ahead from the Queensland Government that it has satisfied the conditions to transfer the Blair Athol title.
Entertainment and Leisure company Donaco International Limited (ASX:DNA) has announced its EBITDA has increased 10.5% for the nine months to March 2017, thanks to a strong performance at its Star Vegas casino.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.68 per cent to close at 9,068. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 0.13 per cent to close at 9,164 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL), rising 5.06 per cent to close at $5.40. Shares in Australian Pharmaceuticals (ASX:API) and CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) were higher.
The worst performing stock was Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX), dropping 10.41 per cent to close at $1.21. Shares in Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) and GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD) also closed lower.
Big River Industries Limited (ASX:BRI) started trading today. The timber manufacturer and distributor floated with an issue price of $1.46, opened at $1.475 and closed at $1.54.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,263 an ounce. Light crude is $0.01 higher at $US49.19 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7488.