Market Wrap: Aus shares close higher

Market Reports

Following mixed offshore leads and lacklustre reaction to the Spanish bailout the Australian share market opened flat but quickly gained some momentum before closing higher.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 9 points up to finish at 4,073. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 23 points down.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics lending finance data for April has showed an increase in commercial finance. Total business finance commitments increased 9.8 per cent, while personal lending increased 0.6 per cent.

National Australia Bank has reported business conditions are at a three year low. NAB’s monthly business conditions index fell to minus 2 points and Business confidence fell to minus 4 points in May.


Company news

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) CEO Alan Joyce has reject suggestions the airline will sell off assets or commence capital raising. It comes as Emirates chief executive, Tim Clark, has categorically ruled out any interest in taking a significant stake in the embattled airline. Shares in Qantas closed 10.82% per cent up at $1.07

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX:EGP) entered into a trading halt today, awaiting an announcement concerning capital raising. The casino operator is reportedly aiming to reinforce its position and prepare itself against a potential takeover by its two biggest shareholders Crown Limited (ASX:CWN) and Asian gaming company Genting. Echo Entertainment Group Ltd is currently in a trading halt and last traded at $4.49.

Mining and materials group OneSteel Limited (ASX:OST) has confirmed the successful refinancing of its $295 million syndicated loan which was due to mature in August 2013. The deal incorporates both domestic and overseas lenders.

Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) has cut its revenue guidance for the second half of the year. The media company is now expecting a decline of 8 per cent from the same time last year as a result of continuing volatility in market conditions and advertising trends.

Building material manufacturer Alesco Corporation Limited (ASX:ALS) has again declined paint giant DuluxGroup Limited’s (ASX:DLX) $188 million unsolicited takeover offer.

Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) share rating has been downgraded by Merrill Lynch from 'neutral' to 'underperform' as the network resumed trading today after raising $161 million through the institutional component of its capital raising.

 
Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 78 points to close at 4,943. The worst performing sector was Telco Services, losing 14 points to close at 1,233.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC), rising 12.5 per cent to close at $0.36. Shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) and BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN), dropping 13.16 per cent to close at $0.53. Shares in Aquarius Platinum Limited (ASX:AQP) and Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) also closed lower.


Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,590 an ounce. Light crude is $0.70 down at $US82.00 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US00.9894.