Market Wrap: ASX lifts slightly by close

Market Reports

 
The Australian share market dilly-dallied in early trade but bucked 0.06 per cent higher at close after a widely anticipated speech from RBA governor Glenn Stevens.
 
In his speech, Mr Stevens avoided talking directly about the economy or the Australian dollar, instead he concentrated on the lessons learned from the 2008 GFC and suggested growth reforms and commitments from the G20 nations would go a long way towards accelerating recovery. The Aussie dollar spiked higher after traders took his lack of concern around the currency as a buy signal. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 3 points up to finish at 5,543. 
 
The value of trades was $3.75 billion on volume of 659 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 8 points down.
 
Company news
 
Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE) announced $145 million worth of contract extensions in the social services sector. The company says it’s retaining its contract with Austin Health in Victoria for an initial term of five years with the option of a three year extension. Transfield has also secured a one year extension to its existing New South Wales Land & Housing contract, building on a 12 year relationship. 
Earlier this month, Transfield announced a $270 million contract to manage Australian Defence facilities across four states and the Northern Territory in a deal with options that could stretch to ten years. Despite the positive news, shares in Transfield dipped 2.57 per cent to close at $1.32.
 
Small cap technology firm Silex Systems Limited (ASX:SLX) set speculative investors abuzz after the firm requested a trading halt from the ASX. The halt is to enable Silex to confirm proposed changes around commercialisation arrangements for its laser-based uranium technology. The secretive technology has potential to use the lasers to enrich uranium, negating the need for the costly centrifuge technology currently used. Silex has licensing agreement with Global Laser Enrichment to commercialise the technology and could reap huge potential upside if it manages to capture a decent slice of the uranium enrichment market. The nuclear industry has taken a beating since the Fukushima disaster with the Silex share price trading steadily lower as the price of uranium entered freefall. Shares in Silex last traded at 94 cents will remain in a trading halt until Thursday or an announcement is released. 
 
Mobile e-commerce company 99 Wuxian Limited (ASX:NNW) reported a 53 per cent growth in revenue during the June quarter along with growth in all key performance indicators. 
 
Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) has grown its second quarter production and confirmed its full year guidance following start-up of its $20 billion PNG LNG Project ahead of schedule.  
 
Mining explorer Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) has just posted its strongest cash flow quarter in over two years and has now achieved a net cash position of $10 million. 
 
And Kresta Holdings Limited (ASX:KRS) is urging shareholders to accept an takeover offer of 23 cents per share. The offer, which values the company at $34.5 million, comes from a China-based company heavily involved with Kresta’s new managing director. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was materials adding 0.7 per cent to close at 10,344. The worst performing sector was staples, losing nearly 0.5 per cent to close at 9,998 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Lynas Corporation, rising 6.25 per cent to close at $0.17. Shares in G8 Education and Western Areas also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Buru Energy, dropping 3.35 per cent to close at $0.86. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals and Transfield Services also closed lower. 
 
Commodites

Gold is trading at $US1,308 an ounce. Light crude is $1.46 up at $US104.59 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.90 US cents