Market Wrap: ASX surges after Dow record

Market Reports

Buoyed by positive leads the Australian share market surged 0.8 per cent after the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high close in New York overnight. Local stocks sustained gains following news the Australian economy grew in line with expectations last year and closed just off session highs. 


The S&P/ASX 200 index surged 41 points to close at 5,117.

The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 848 million shares at the close of trade.

The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 42 points higher.

Economic news

Australia's economy grew in line with expectations in the final quarter of 2012. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports gross domestic product gained 0.6 per cent in the three months to the end of December 2012, slightly down from 0.7 per cent the quarter before. Over 2012 Australia’s pace of growth was 3.1 per cent with Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan claiming the figures show the resilience of the Australian economy.  

Company news

Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) has entered into agreements to raise $170 million through a private placement to existing and new global institutional investors. The regenerative medicine company says it plans to use the funds to drive advanced programs to commercial outcomes. Shares in Mesoblast firmed 0.16 per cent today, ending at $6.45. 
Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) says its Northern Hemisphere University Programs have shown continued growth at the beginning of 2013. The education services provider has reported a 19 per cent rise in full time student enrolments in colleges around the US, UK and Canada. Shares in Navitas rose 2.03 per cent today, ending at $5.03. 
The founder of iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) Andrew Forrest has today told the High Court the Federal Government’s mining tax is unconstitutional as it discriminates between states.
Shares in Flinders Mines Limited (ASX:FMS) rose more than 4 per cent today after the iron ore hopeful struck a deal with four Chinese steel mills which could lead to sales from its flagship Flinders’ Pilbara Iron Ore Project.
Shares in Alchemia Limited (ASX:ACL) jumped almost 8 per cent after the drug developer scored a US patent for a drug designed to treat coloretal cancer.
Property developer Sunland Group Limited (ASX:SDG) has advised it will undertake about $700 million in the Australian residential property market this year including plans to launch nine new developments. 

Best and worst performers

All sectors posted gains: The best performing sector was energy adding 189 points to close at 13,526.
The sector with the smallest gains was telco services, adding 0.5 point to close at 1,565 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Bathurst Resources Limited (ASX:BTU), rising 13.79 per cent to close at $0.33. Shares in Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF) and Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR), dropping 7.35 per cent to close at $0.32. Shares in UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) dipped with the stock trading ex-dividend today and Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,577 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.20 higher at $US91.02 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.028. 

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