Market Wrap: ASX pushes higher before US jobs

Market Reports

The Australian share market traded largely flat this morning but an afternoon rally saw the local bourse close 0.4 per cent higher. The banks led the way today with the big four all making solid gains. 
 
Attention now turns to tonight’s release of US jobs data with analysts expecting a rise in payrolls, while the unemployment rate is tipped to stay unchanged at 6.1 per cent. A strong report will add even more momentum to the rise of the US dollar.
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21 points up to finish at 5,318. 
Over the week the index was only 4.8 points higher. 
 
The value of trades was $3.57 billion on volume of 610 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 ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 28 points up.
 
Wall Street

US major indexes have lost 0.9 per cent over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 0.9 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has lost 1 per cent. The NASDAQ has lost 0.8 per cent. The 100 Index has lost 0.6 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) have jumped on the news it has won a $24 million contract with Baptcare to build a new aged care facility in Melbourne. The construction company will build a three story facility with basement, landscaping and associated roads and carparks. Work should start later this month with completion in early 2016. Shares in Watpac closed 3.93 per cent up at $0.93
 
PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) says its Phu Kham Copper and Gold Operation in Laos is back to work following a security incident earlier this week.  As a precaution the mining company suspended operations at the project for 48 hours. Shares in PanAust closed 1.92 per cent down at $1.79 
 
Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX:ERA) is pushing ahead with approvals for its proposed Ranger 3 Deeps underground mine in the Northern Territory. 
 
Sunland Group Limited (ASX:SDG) has bought a site on the Gold Coast for $61 million to create a master planned community.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts adding almost 1 per cent to close at 6,994. The worst performing sector was materials, losing 0.5 per cent to close at 9,196 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Spotless Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SPO), rising 3.37 per cent to close at $1.84. Shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) and Carsales.Com Limited (ASX:CRZ) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX), dropping 6.73 per cent to close at $0.48. Shares in Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) and Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) also closed lower.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,211 an ounce, and is down $4.30 over the week.
Light crude is $0.28 higher at $US91.01 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $0.8792 and is $0.0027 higher over the week.