Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.7% higher

Market Reports

Following a strong lead from European markets the Australian share market opened higher and continued to lift steadily into afternoon trade, rising 30 points at noon before closing 0.7 per cent higher, boosted by heathcare stocks.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points up to finish at 4,517. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 27 points higher.
Economic news 

Building approvals have lifted, coming in above expectations. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported residential building approvals increased 7.8 per cent in September. Over the year, approvals were up more than 12 per cent. The Reserve Bank of Australia has reported private sector credit up 0.3 per cent in September, following 0.2 per cent rises in both July and August. Lending for housing was 0.4 per cent up for the month and 4.7 for the year. 

Company news
Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) has rejected a new and improved $1.19 billion takeover offer from Hong Kong’s Noble Group and South Korea’s POSCO. The sweetened bid of 88 cents per share comes after Arrium rejected an initial takeover offer of $1 billion, or 75 cents per share earlier this month. Arrium claims the revised proposal significantly undervalues the company and is highly conditional. Shares in Arrium closed 1.88 per cent down at $0.79. 

More than 90 per cent of shareholders in Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (ASX:CMJ) have voted in favour of News Corp’s (ASX:NWS) $1.94 billion takeover bid. The ACCC green lighted the deal earlier this month. The transaction which is pending Federal Court approval on Friday, will see shareholders receive $3.45 per share and a $0.06 dividend. News Corporation will emerge with 50 per cent of pay-TV provider Foxtel and full ownership of the Fox Sports suite of channels. Shares in Consolidated Media closed flat at $3.43. 

National Australia Bank Limited’s (ASX:NAB) full year net profit has slumped by 22 per cent to $4.08 billion, weighed down by its troubled UK operations.
Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX:TAH) says it hopes the New South Wales state government will follow Victoria and allow it to keep its exclusive wagering licence beyond next year. 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has confirmed it is on track to reach its full year profit, after the construction company swung from a loss to a profit in the first nine months of the 2012 financial year. 
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has affirmed it expects to deliver low single-digit growth in revenue and earnings for the 2013 financial year. 

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was healthcare adding 188 points to close at 10,631. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, losing 0.20 points to close at 975 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) rising 8.54 per cent to close at $6.10. Shares in Macmahon Holdings and Intrepid Mines also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Transpacific Industries Group Limited (ASX:TPI), dropping 14.53 per cent to close at $0.77. Shares in Boart Longyear and Fairfax Media also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,711 an ounce. Light crude is $0.16 up at $US85.84 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.03.

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