Market Wrap: ASX rises over holiday shortened week

Market Reports

The Australian share market has risen 1.4 per cent over the public holiday shortened week and ended in positive territory today. Returning from the Easter break stocks moved higher over the three trading days ahead of the ANZAC day public holiday tomorrow. 

Global markets have been buoyed by better than expected US earnings and mainly positive economic indicators, helping to balance ongoing tensions in Ukraine. On the local front tame inflation figures released yesterday supported confidence the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will maintain interest rates at record lows.  

In the week ahead the US Federal Reserve is expected to keep tapering its economic stimulus program by an extra $US10 billion when it meets mid-week. 

Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index firmed 13 points today, adding to the weekly gain of 77 points to finish at 5,531. 
 
The value of trades was $5.02 billion on volume of 631 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 ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 16 points higher. 
 
Wall Street
 
US stocks have risen over the three trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 77 points. The S&P 500 Index has added 13 points. The NASDAQ has added 41 points. The 100 Index has added 24 points. 
 
Company news 
 
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) has announced plans to raise $2.74 billion to fund its $7 billion purchase of Queensland Motorways. The toll roads operator will hold a 62.5 per cent interest in the asset as part of a consortium. CEO Scott Charlton the acquisition is in line with the company’s strategy of growing distributions and enhancing its portfolio of prime assets. Shares in Transurban Group last traded at $7.27 before entering into a trading halt to raise the funds. 
 
Takeover speculation surrounded oil and gas junior Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) and its potential suitor Roc Oil Company Limited (ASX:ROC) today. Both companies entered into a trading halt this morning citing a potential transaction. Horizon Oil says it is considering a potential material control transaction and expects to make an announcement on or before this Tuesday.Shares in Horizon Oil last traded at $0.37 before entering into a trading ahead of releasing more details. 
 
Shares in ERM Power Limited (ASX:EPW) dropped 15.02 per cent after the power supplier lowered its guidance for the following financial year, offsetting news it has secured $1 billion in new government contracts. 
 
Shares in Ruralco Holdings Limited (ASX:RHL) rose 0.29 per cent after the agribusiness predicted its first half underlying net profit will grow up to 55 per cent on the back of a solid performance across most of its business.  
 
Best and worst performers 

Most major sectors ended on positive ground: The best performing sector was utilities, rising 64 points to close at 5,786. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, falling 14 points to close at 10,217 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE), gaining 5.95 per cent to close at $0.89. Shares in Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) and G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX), dropping 3.75 per cent to close at $0.77. Shares in Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) and Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) also closed lower. 
 
IPOs 
 
Automotive trade parts supplier Burson Group Limited (ASX:BAP) listed with an issue price of $1.82, opened at $2.05 and a closed 12.64 per cent higher at $2.05.    
 
Commercial office property manager 360 Capital Office Fund (ASX:TOF) listed with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $2.01 and a closed 3 per cent lower at $1.94.    
 
Commodities
 
Gold is buying $US1,285 an ounce, down $16.94 over the week. 
Light crude is $0.31 lower at $US101.44 a barrel. 
 
The Australian dollar
 
The Australian dollar is buying $0.9292, down $US0.01 cent over the week.