Positive finish: Aus shares close 0.5% higher

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

It has been a positive day of trade for the local market despite negative offshore leads from the US. After opening strongly the market fell back to trade in a narrow range before picking up momentum in the afternoon closing just off its highs.

As for the sectors, Financials, Consumer Discretionary and Telcos lead the way rising just under 1 per cent and Materials were the only sectors lower. Aristocrat Leisure had a good day (ASX:ALL) up 1.82 per cent as did Tatts Group at 2.24 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 27 points up, or 0.47 per cent higher, to finish at 5,682. Over the week it lost 13 points.

The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 613 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 28 points up.

Asian Markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.35 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the four trading days this week the Dow Jones gained 0.4 per cent, the S&P 500 was flat and the Nasdaq lost 0.4 per cent. The 100 index slipped 0.9 per cent.

Company news

The Federal Court of Australia will require Fairfax to seek a vote of shareholders on its planned scheme of arrangement to spin off its real estate classifieds and services business Domain. If the scheme is passed Fairfax shareholders will receive one Domain share for every 10 shares in Fairfax Media. Shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) closed steady at 95c

Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) has denied it has entered an agreement with Prime Media Group (ASX:PRT), but confirms there was a conceptual proposal received. Prime has confirmed allegations the two companies engaged in discussions about the possible combination of their companies, however said these discussions have ceased.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has announced it will buy back an additional $2.5 billion in shares, returning proceeds of the Coal & Allied Industries sale to shareholders. This brings the miner’s total share buybacks announced this year to $4 billion.

And lastly, Strike Energy (ASX:STX) has announced the execution of a new gas sales agreement with multinational Orica. The energy company has agreed to supply gas from Strike’s Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Financials Excluding REITS, adding 0.9 per cent to close at 7,160. The worst performing sector was Industrials, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 5,633 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF), rising 4.92 per cent to close at $5.97. Shares in G8 Education (ASX:GEM) and Myer Holdings (ASX:MYR) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), dropping 3.60 per cent to close at $2.68. Shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) and Indepenence Group (ASX:IHO) also closed lower.

IPOs

Northern Cobalt (ASX:N27) started trading today. The emerging resource company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of cobalt mineral projects floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.20 and closed at $0.215

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,297 an ounce.
Light crude is 5 cents higher at $US50.74 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.45 US cents.