Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.91% higher

Market Reports

Australian share market opened higher and continued further into positive territory after more positive resource and industrial earnings reports.

Aus shares close 0.91% higher
 
Good evening, I’m Dallas Baird and Welcome to the Market Wrap on 14 February for the Finance News Network.
 
Following positive leads from New York, the Australian share market opened higher and continued further into positive territory after more positive resource and industrial earnings reports. The ASX closed 0.91 per cent up.  
 
Weekly Summary
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 48 points up to finish at 5,356, a gain over the week of 190 points. 
 
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 726 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 45 points up.
 
Wall Street

US stocks have risen over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 399 points. The S&P 500 Index added 56 points. The NASDAQ added 184 points. The 100 Index added 162 points. 
 
Economic news

China’s inflation seems stable as the consumer price index rose 2.5 per cent year on year, slightly above forecasts. Factory door prices fell by 1.6 per cent, however, indicating a contraction in demand for the goods of the world’s second biggest economy. 
 
Back at home, the ABS has reported that the total value of owner occupied housing commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 1.0% in trend terms, but fell 1.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. Personal finance commitments also fell by 1.1 per cent. Businesses are in greater debt, however with the value of total commercial finance commitments up by 1.9 per cent, 4.5 per cent in seasonal terms. Lease finance also increased by 0.9 percent.
 
Company news
 
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, LON:RIO) has rebounded from a loss to a profit of $US3.67 billion and hiked its full year dividend by 15 per cent. The result was above guidance and came after a $3.03 billion loss last financial year due to some massive write downs. Underlying profit also rose 10 per cent to $US10.2 billion, supported by production records and the realisation of five major capital projects during the year. 
Shares in Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, LON:RIO) closed 0.10 per cent up at $67.90. 
 
Troubled goldminer Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) has reported a net profit of $40 million for the first half of Fiscal 2014, down from $323 million for the same period a year ago. Newcrest mostly blamed a slide in gold prices of 13 per cent during 2013, as well as massive unexpected write downs of assets in Africa and a $120 million tax bill. Newcrest Mining says it will maintain its full-year production guidance despite the results. Shares in Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) closed 1.87 per cent down at $11.05. 
 
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) budget off-shoot has announced today it will start code sharing with Emirates. The move is set to open up new destinations for Emirates passengers across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Jetstar COO Lisa Brock has said the agreement will drive inbound tourism traffic to Australia. Shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) closed 2.53 per cent up. 
 
Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) has announced that despite what it called challenging conditions, it has doubled its statutory net profit to $9 million. The metal merchant was also keen to point out a recovery in earnings and a reduction of net debt in H1. It says market conditions in H2 will remain challenging but expects earnings to continue improvement. Shares in Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) closed 6.79 per cent up. 
 
The operator of the Australian Securities Exchange, ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) has lifted its first half net profit by 10.8 per cent to almost $190 million ($189.6 million.) CEO Elmer Funke Kupper says all major ASX business lines increased revenue year-on-year for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008. Shares in ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) closed 1.52 per cent higher. 
 
The best and worst performers

All major sectors closed higher. The best performing sector was Health Care adding 245 points to close at 14,094. The sector with the smallest gains was Energy, adding 64 points to close at 13,689 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM), rising 6.79 per cent to close at $10.70. Shares in PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) and Sirius Resources (ASX:SIR) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD), dropping 3.72 per cent to close at $5.96. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) and WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED (ASX:WHC) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

The price of gold is buying $US1,306 an ounce. It’s up $44.58 over the week and is at its highest price this year. Light crude is $0.02 lower at $US100.35 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $0.8993 and is $0.01 up over the week.