It has been a positive end to the trading session for the Australian share market, despite being characterised by a lack of direction for most of the day. The local bourse moved in and out of the red throughout the day, but ended up gaining 0.36 per cent at the close. The Materials space did the bulk of the heavy lifting this session, but we also saw some solid gains in Utilities and Energy. Only a couple of sectors finished the day in the red being Consumer Staples and Health Care.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points up to finish at 5,790.
The value of trades was $5.7 billion on volume of 756 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BT Investment (ASX:BTT), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 23 points up.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.4 per cent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 1.6 per cent higher.
WorleyParsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has been awarded a five year agreement by Refining NZ for engineering, procurement and management services at the Marsden Point Refinery. The revenue to WorleyParsons will be dependent on the amount of work required by the refinery. The services will be executed from Marsden Point with support from Auckland, New Plymouth and other global locations. Shares in WorleyParsons Limited closed 7.37 per cent higher at $12.53.
Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) has announced its net profit after tax soared 56.9% in the first half of 2017 compared to the prior corresponding period to $249.6 million.
Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) has announced a net loss attributable to shareholders of US$9.8 million for the first quarter of 2017.
Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) says it will sell its Sexual Wellness business for US$600 million.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 1.1 per cent to close at 9,917. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 9,383 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR), rising 7.37 per cent to close at $12.53. Shares in Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM) and Ansell (ASX:ANN) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG), dropping 10.36 per cent to close at $3.03. Shares in BT Investment Management (ASX:BTT) and Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,259 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.17 lower at $US51.30 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7504.