Market Wrap: ASX closes modestly higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market has climbed back into positive territory and closing modestly higher after slipping from gains made earlier in the day and ahead of key consumer price data. 
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points up to finish at 4,778.

The value of trades was $3.1 billion on volume of 589 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).
 
On the futures market the SPI is pointing 4 points higher.
 
Company news 
 
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) says its Managing Director of its insurance division, Rob Scott  will now take on the role of Finance Director of Coles in February. Mr Scott joined Wesfarmers in 1993 and has experience in investment banking and financial services. He will replace Tony Buffin who is returning to the UK. Shares in Wesfarmers closed 0.08 per cent up at $37.72.

Engineering firm Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has been awarded a three year contract by Shell Gas Iraq to provide management support and infrastructure services at the Basrah Gas Company (BGC) in Iraq. BCG is a joint venture between Shell, Mitsubishi and the state-run South Gas Company. Shares in Worleyparsons closed 0.96 per cent up at $24.23.

Hills Holdings Limited (ASX:HIL) will sell its wholly owned Hills Healthcare Equipment business to Perth based home care and rehabilitation company K Care, for an undisclosed amount. 
 
OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) has announced a 43 per cent rise in the mineral resource for its Carrapateena deposit in South Australia. 
 
Recycling company Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) says the carrying value of inventory in its UK business has been materially overstated. Sims has flagged a write down of the UK inventory in its first half results.

QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE) is reportedly considering cutting more than 700 jobs in an effort to save $US200 million in annual operating costs by next year.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was utilities adding 23 points to close at 5,397. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 4 points to close at 995 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) rising 9.52 per cent to close at $0.35. Shares in Downer EDI and FKP Property Group also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) dropping 8.59 per cent to close at $1.33. Shares in Sims Metal Management and Drillsearch Energy also closed lower. 

IPOs

Zeus Resources Limited (ASX:ZEU) started trading today. The uranium explorer  floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.18 and a closed at $0.14.    
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,690 an ounce. Light crude is $0.47 down at $US95.57 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.05.

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