The Australian share market closed has come off the days highs to close 0.5 per cent up, with gold stocks taking the shine off the ASX’s early gains with some solid losses. The Aussie dollar pulled itself off the canvas to rise from a fortnight of steep losses, with investors cooling on the local currency ahead of tomorrow’s RBA board meeting minutes.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points up to finish at 5,209. The value of trades was $4.1 billion on volume of 807 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 25 points up.
Australian business prospects are looking good, according to the Commonwealth Bank's Business Sales Indicator (BSI). Spending across the economy rose for the eighth consecutive month, lifting by 0.5 per cent in April.
Santos Limited (ASX:STO)
has commenced first oil production at its $490 million offshore Fletcher Finucane joint venture in Western Australia's Carnarvon Basin. Fletcher Finucane is online 16 months after its approval, ahead of schedule, and is expected to produce 15,000 barrels daily in the first year of production. Shares in Santos closed 1.62 per cent up at $13.14.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
shares hit a fresh record in early trade today, buoyed by yield chasing investors. CBA’s share price hit $74.18 this morning, eclipsing its previous peak of $73.80 achieved earlier this month and a world away from a low of $48.55 just under a year ago. Shares in CBA closed 0.38 per cent up at $73.49.
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT)
owned Optus will roll out Australia’s first multi-band 4G network in the next year.
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI)
will appoint five new directors before July, following a string of executive resignations earlier this year.
GPT Group (ASX:GPT)
has sold its 50 per cent interest in the Erina Fair shopping centre for $397.1 million.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
says a court decision to block the expansion of its Warkworth coal mine puts more than 150 New South Wales projects and tens of billions of dollars at risk.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 70 points to close at 5,770.
The worst performing sector was Healthcare, losing 1 point to close at 13,154, the only major sector to finish lower today.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN)
, rising 9.68 per cent to close at $0.17. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC)
and BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR)
, dropping 13.94 per cent to close at $0.71. Shares in Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN)
and Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,342 an ounce. Light crude is $0.25 down at $US96.04 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9771.