The Australian share market has welcomed positive production data out of China with the local bourse surging 1.02 per cent today.
The Aussie dollar responded strongly pushing to $US0.9264, which was also impacted by news out of the US overnight that the Federal reserve would keep interest rates low in the near term.
The materials sector reversed a difficult week to close up while utilities struggled to make headway today.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 55 points up to finish at 5,480.
The value of trades was $4.35 billion on volume of 727 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
On the futures market the SPI is 52 points up.
HSBC’s flash PMI for may has come in above analysts’ expectations at 49.7, well above last month’s figure of 48.1. Positive news out of China is most welcome at a time when the country’s demand for Australia’s iron ore appears to be waning.
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
has again expressed growing concern over the possible strike of tugboat workers at Port Hedland in Western Australia. The global miner is the world’s third largest iron ore exporter and already feeling the pinch with the price of the steel making commodity sinking to a 20-month low below $US100 per tonne. BHP closed 1.29 per cent up at $37.65.
James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX)
has doubled it full year profit, hiked its dividend payout and issued a positive outlook. The building products manufacturer posted a net profit of $US99.5 million in the year to the end of March from $US45.5 million over the prior year. Shares in James Hardie closed 5.7 per cent up at $14.47.
Logistics group Qube Holdings Limited (ASX:QUB)
and rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ)
have started talks to develop an integrated freight hub for South Western Sydney.
Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX)
has cleared a regulatory hurdle in its proposed acquisition of the fuel division of the Scotts Group.
With six weeks to go until the end of the financial year, Dick Smith Holdings Limited (ASX:DSH)
says it is on track to meet its full year guidance.
Retirement village operator and aged care provider Aveo Group (ASX:AOG)
is preparing to ramp up new retirement developments after buying two new sites.
Best and worst performers
All sectors finished up today. The best performing sector washealth care adding 251 points to close at 14,568.The sector with the smallest gains was telco services, gaining 2 points to close at 1,867 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 wasLynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC)
, rising 9.09 per cent to close at $0.12. Shares in Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC)
and Qube Holdings Limited (ASX:QUB)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)
, dropping 3.95 per cent to close at $3.40. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE)
and Kathmandu Holdings Limited (ASX:KMD)
also closed lower.
PM Capital Asian Opportunities Fund Limited(ASX:PAF)
started trading today. The fund listed with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.00 and a closed at $0.96
Gold is buying $US1,294 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.74 up at $US104.07 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9264.