Market Wrap: Three week high

Market Reports

The Aussie sharemarket closed at a three week high: up 2.11 per cent on strong overseas leads and economic news.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 87 points to finish at 4,188. On the futures market, the SPI is 89 points higher.

Company news

Santos Limited (ASX:STO) has responded to criticism from the Greens over its agreement with the NSW state government to allow coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the Pilliga State Forest. Fairfax media reports Santos says it’s going to review its plans in the region, but it feels its agreement is fair to the state and taxpayers. Santos plans to drill 1,100 wells in the region. Shares in Santos closed 2.51 per cent higher at $12.65.

Kagara Limited (ASX:KZL) shares jumped today, after it announced the appointment of Mark Hands as executive general manager corporate. The role incorporates the roles of company secretary as general counsel. Hands comes from Straits Resources, where he was company secretary and general councsel for three years. Shares in Kagara soared 7.55 per cent today to 28.5 cents.

Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX:IAG) has increased its reinsurance program by $600 million. The group says its catastrophe reinsurance program for 2012 includes protection for up to $4.7 billion, compared with $4.1 billion in 2011.

Condom and glove maker Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) has flagged its intent to diversify its operations by taking a 9.7 per cent stake in Nasdaq-listed Lakeland Industries (NASDAQ:LAKE) for $US4.5 million ($4.34m).

Sectors and stocks

All sectors were in positive territory, real estate investment trusts was up 25 points to 811. The worst performing sector was healthcare, up 69 points, closing at 8,100.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Kagara as we saw earlier. Shares in SMS Management and Karoon also finished stronger today.

The worst performing stock was Mesoblast, it closed 2.37 per cent lower at $7, followed by Telecom NZ and Hasting Diversified Utilities Fund.

Commodities

The price of gold is $US1,599 an ounce and Light crude is down 34 cents to US$102.62 a barrel.