The ASX failed to keep momentum after reaching a high at lunchtime but managed to close 0.61 per cent higher. Lithium miner Argosy (ASX:AGY) gained 10 cents – up 55 per cent after it announced it had produced battery-grade lithium carbonate at its lithium project in Argentina. Meanwhile job site SEEK is still down 9 per cent.The materials sector is leading the way thanks to gains in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Alumina (ASX:AWC). BHP is still strong and Telstra is up (ASX:TLS). While iron ore price rose 0.9 per cent to US$67.45 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 4.6 per cent
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 38 points higher, or 0.61 per cent higher to finish at 6273.
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 33 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 8 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 27 point rise tomorrow.
Value of trades
$3.4 billion on volume of 445 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 Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).
Local economic news
ANZ job ads are up 1.5 per cent month on month. This almost reverses the decline of 1.7 per cent recorded last month.
Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has reduced its stake in Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) from 19.9 per cent to 11.37 per cent. Gina Rinehart's company Redstone announced over the weekend it had taken a 56 per cent controlling stake in Atlas, and confirmed the all-cash offer for shares in Atlas would be extended to August 17. Fortescue say they will continue to focus on their US$1.275 billion Eliwana mine and other projects. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) closed 0.9 per cent higher at $4.34
CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) company, Broad Construction has recently secured social and commercial infrastructure projects totalling $110 million, including the design and construct contract for Karingal Green, a state-of-the-art residential aged care precinct for Hall & Prior in Perth. Broad is a wholly owned subsidiary of CIMIC Group construction company CPB Contractors. Shares in CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) closed 0.3 per cent higher at $49.03
Packaging company Amcor (ASX:AMC) has requested a trading halt fuelling speculation the company may make a bid for a large US company. Reports say Amcor is finalising a $7 billion buyout of rival Bemis Company, a plastics packaging group.
Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) has an agreement with POSCO for the sale of a package of tenements in Argentina’s Catamarca province is now ahead of schedule.The non-binding agreement would see Galaxy sell a package of tenements in an area known as the ‘lithium triangle’.
Online employment platform Seek (ASX:SEK) has reported net profit will fall within a range of $225 to $230 million before deducting investments in early stage growth options of $25 to $30 million. The company will also recognize a non-cash impairment charge of $178 million against the carrying value of Brazil online and OCC (Mexico).
Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) has signed a three year mining contract with Cobar Management worth $120 million for services at the CSA Mine copper mine in Cobar. Cobar Managment is a wholly owned subsidiary of global mining giant, Glencore.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was materials adding 1.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was consumer discretionary shedding 0.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG), rising 8 per cent to close at $0.54. Shares in NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was SEEK (ASX:SEK), dropping 8.8 per cent to close at $20. Shares in Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP) and Xero (ASX:ARO) followed lower.
Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.9 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,214 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.47 lower at $US68.49 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.88 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher Bitcoin has gained 1.8 per cent to US$7132, Ethereum has gained 1.4 per cent to US$413 and EOS has gained 1 per cent to US$7.11 in the last 24 hours.