Market Wrap: ASX limps higher in afternoon trade

Market Reports

The Australian share market found some afternoon strength from the big four banks closing 0.54 per cent higher.  
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points up to finish at 5,293 
 
The value of trades was $4.71 billion on volume of 782 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 National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 24 points up.
 
Economic news

The RBA says investor home loans are at a 25 year high. Credit for investment properties added another 0.8 per cent in August lifting the gain so far this year to 9.2 per cent. Lending to owner occupiers rose 0.4 per cent for a year to date gain of 5.4 per cent while business borrowing has grown just 3.2 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Recall Holdings Limited (ASX:REC) has failed to extinguish market speculation that it is in talks with US data storage giant Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE:IRM) about a potential takeover. Market chatter has the deal valuing Recall at up to $US2.5 billion. However in a statement to the ASX this morning Recall denied being in discussion with Iron Mountain or any other buyer saying if there were any material developments in the future the company would inform shareholders. Shares in Recall leapt 11.55 per cent to $5.60 despite the rebuttal.  
 
The head of News Corp (ASX:NWS) Rupert Murdoch has refuted all claims of tax avoidance in Australia. An investigation by the Tax Justice Network revealed yesterday that taxes paid by ASX top 200 companies showed 29 per cent of companies have an effective corporate tax rate of 10 per cent or less. News Corp’s spin-off Twenty-First Century Fox, listed on the ASX until March 2014, was ranked the top tax avoider. Rupert Murdoch took to twitter to voice his opinion, claiming “NO tax avoidance by News, Fox or any Murdochs in Australia. Courts ruled, so move on!’ Shares in News Corp dipped 0.26 per cent to $18.88.
 
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL)  has appointed Adam Watson, previously of Melbourne Airport, as Chief Financial Officer. 
 
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) reported the death of a worker at its Worsley Alumina refinery in the south-west of Western Australia. 
 
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) will now offer non-stop A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth, with a flying time of almost 16 hours. 
 
Property developer Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) has announced the finalisation of its $5.3 billion contract with the Victorian Government  for Melbourne’s East West Link project. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts adding 1.0 per cent to close at 6,897. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 1,080 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Recall Holdings, rising 11.55 per cent to close at $5.60. Shares in Tassal Group and Liquefied Natural Gas also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Lynas Corporation, dropping 6.98 per cent to close at $0.08. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates and Atlas Iron also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,217 an ounce. Light crude is $1.03 up at $US94.57 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 87.59 US cents. 

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