Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.26% higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market traded below yesterday’s close for most of the day, but an afternoon surge took it back into the green to close marginally higher at 0.26 per cent up.
 
The energy and utilities sectors made the greatest gains.
 
Budget talk ran hot for the most of the day but few commentators reported any direct effects of Tuesday’s announcements on the country’s stocks. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points up to finish at 5,511. 
 
The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 717 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 15 points up.
 
Company news
 
Coal Seam Gas miner Metgasco Limited (ASX:MEL) has had drilling approval suspended at the Rosella Well near Lismore in Northern NSW. The NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas has asked the company to demonstrate that it has complied with a particular condition of its license regarding community consultation. The company has been placed in a trading halt for 48 hours pending discussions with the government. Shares in Metgasco last traded at $0.09
 
Auckland International Airport Limited (ASX:AIA) will increase the number of China Southern Airlines flights between Guanzhou and Aukland to fourteen per week. The company says the flights will operate in the summer peak season. They’ll add 30,000 seats to the route and inject $43 million into the New Zealand economy. Shares in Auckland Airport closed 2.63 per cent down at $3.70. 
 
Mortgage Choice Limited (ASX:MOC) has increased estimates for its full year cash earnings by about 16.5 per cent above last year’s result.
 
Graincorp Limited’s (ASX:GNC) profit for the first half to March has dropped to $61 million this year from $109 million last year.
 
Singapore Telecommunications Limited’s (ASX:SGT) Australian arm Optus, has boosted its full year profit by 14.6 per cent to $835 million.
 
SP AusNet’s (ASX:SPN) full year profit is down 34.8 per cent to $178.3 million from $273.5 million in the previous year.
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was consumer staples adding 70 points to close at 10,138.The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, losing 1 point to close at 1,824 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI), rising 6.63 per cent to close at $20.90. Shares in Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) and Village Roadshow Limited (ASX:VRL) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC), dropping 7.69 per cent to close at $0.12. Shares in Trade Me Group Limited (ASX:TME) and Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is buying $US1,302 an ounce. 
Light crude is $0.67 up at $US102.37 a barrel. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9378