The Australian share market has maintained early gains to close 0.7 per cent higher after Chinese GDP data came in line with expectations. The market tipped 15 month highs today after being boosted at open by strong leads from Wall Street and Europe.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points up to finish at 4,559. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 17 points higher.
Chinese GDP in the September quarter has grown in line with expectations despite being slower than the previous quarter. China’s GDP hit 7.4% year on year in the September quarter, its slowest recorded monthly rate of growth since 2009. The figure was down from the 7.6% GDP growth recorded in the June quarter.
Also today The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures on International merchandise imports, revealing a 3 per cent drop in imports for September, totalling $20.6 billion.
Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) has swung to a net loss of $17.1 million in the twelve months until the end of August, the first annual loss by an Australian bank in two decades. The result was down from a profit of $158.7 million in the previous corresponding period, however CEO Stuart Grimshaw says the second half of the banks fiscal year was profitable, and expectations for the next 12 months are positive. BOQ will pay a fully franked final dividend of 26 cents per share to shareholders. Shares in Bank of Queensland closed 1.09 per cent down at $7.27.
Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) has made its first iron ore sale from its Southern Iron operation in South Australia. CEO Geoff Plummer says the early availability of ore has enabled the miner to make sales ahead of plan, and the company is working to expand its Whyalla port facility to support a substantial increase in total iron ore sales. Shares in Arrium closed 2.61 per cent higher at $0.79.
Hills Holdings Limited (ASX:HIL) shares plummeted 34.78 per cent today after it advised its first quarter results are 45 per cent lower than the corresponding period last year.
Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) swung to a $12.9 million loss in the full year to the end of August, from a profit of $14 million the year before.
Shares in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) firmed 3.32 per cent today, with chief Marius Kloppers expecting global iron ore growth to slow from 800 million to 650 million tonnes this decade.
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) shares gained 1.23 per cent after the gold miner maintained its full year guidance for output and capital expenditure despite posting a fall in first quarter production.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 273 points to close at 10,387.Today’s worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 41 to close at 5,012 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX), rising 18.05 per cent to close at $0.79. Shares in Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) and Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN), dropping 4.47 per cent to close at $1.18. Shares in Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,750 an ounce. Light crude is $0.01 down at $US92.11 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.038.