The Australian share market closed higher for a fourth straight session and for the month of July. Despite mixed leads stocks lifted throughout the day to finish about half a per cent up, just off session highs. Gains were driven by the energy sector and the miners as hopes rose central bank’s will act to deliver economic stimulus.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 24 points to finish at 4,269. Over the month of July the key index gained 174.56 points. On the futures market the SPI is now 20 points higher.
Dwelling approvals fell less than expected last month. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) building approvals dropped 2.5 per cent in June, representing a gain of 10.2 per cent over the year to June.
The ABS has also reported private lending rose in line with expectations, rising 0.3 per cent in June and coming in slightly softer than the month before but 4.4 per cent higher from the year before.
Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) has reported a fall in annual production in the same period revenue rose for its exploration and production business. The energy company says production dipped in fiscal 2012, in the same period it reduced its stake in the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas project. Origin’s revenue increased 3 per cent to $856 million over the year, boosted by higher commodity prices. Shares in Origin Energy gained 2.07 per cent today, closing at $11.81.
Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) CEO Rod Jones says it has been one of the toughest years in the company’s history as the education provider today reported its 2012 financial results. Over the past 12 months net profit dipped 5 per cent to $73 million as Navitas was hit with a drop in student numbers. A fully franked dividend of 19.5 cents per share has been declared. Shares in Navitas dropped 6.51 per cent today, closing at $3.88.
Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) advanced as the rare earths developer released its June quarterly activities report and confirmed the second phase of its Malaysian plant construction is on budget and on track to be finished early next year.
Shares in Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) jumped as the coal company announced its Anketell Port development, an integral part of its West Pilbara Iron Ore Project, has been supported by the Environmental Protection Authority.
Shares in Macquarie Telecom Group Limited (ASX:MAQ) lifted as the telecommunications provider boosted its full year earning guidance by about 9 per cent and also announced the successful commissioning of its second Sydney data centre.
Shares in Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) finished steady as the oil refiner launched a $300 million note issue to raise funds for general corporate purposes and the refinancing of existing debt.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Energy adding 175 points to close at 12,234.
The worst performing sector was Industrials, losing 15 points to close at 3,248 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC), rising 11.46 per cent to close at $0.54. Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) and Duet Group (ASX:DUE) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Campbell Brothers Limited (ASX:CPB), dropping 10.05 per cent to close at $46.90. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) and Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,622 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.35 down at $US89.78 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.052.