Market Wrap: ASX leaps into last week of October

Market Reports

The Australian share market has leapt into the last week of October and closed the first session of the week 0.9 per cent stronger. Positive US leads lifted the local benchmark at open and stocks advanced to end near the highs of the session by close. 
 
The financial sector added support ahead of a week in which ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) are expected to release financial reports. 
 
Shortly before the market closed ANZ Bank entered into a trading halt until Wednesday or pending the release of an announcement. The bank’s results are due on Friday while NAB will release its figures on Thursday and Westpac will posts its numbers next Monday. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 47 points stronger at 5,459. 
 
The value of trades was $4.25 billion on volume of 702 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 31 points higher.
 
Company news
 
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) has unveiled plans to acquire the Novartis influenza business for $US275 million. CSL will combine the business with its existing vaccine subsidiary bioCSL to become the second biggest influenza vaccine maker in the world. Shares in CSL rose 0.82 per cent to close at $76.28. 
 
Amcom Telecommunications Limited (ASX:AMM) got a boost after Vocus Communications Limited (ASX:VOC) announced it had acquired a 10 per cent stake in the company. Vocus has also approached Amcom’s board of directors with plans to merge the two businesses. Shares in Amcom advanced 12.37 per cent to close at $2.09.
 
Shares in Wilson HTM Investment Group Limited (ASX:WIG) soared 15.38 per cent after the financial services company confirmed it is progressing well to creating a standalone securities business, majority owned by staff.
 
Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) rose 5.88 per cent after the rare earth producer announced it has raised $71 million from an entitlement offer. 
 
Shares in Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS) gained 0.92 per cent after the gaming provider announced the Victorian Government will allow it to offer scratchies and daily keno. 
 
Shares in Cash Convertors International Limited (ASX:CCV) jumped 9 per cent after the second hand goods retailer posted 26 per cent first quarter revenue growth.  
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector was financials, adding 1.2 per cent to close at 6,224.
The worst performing sector was materials, losing 0.08 per cent to close at 9,229 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) after last week inking a deal to buy coffee chain Gloria Jean’s Group. Shares in the multi-brand food franchisor advanced 9.05 per cent to close at $5.30. Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) and Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA), dropping 5.19 per cent to close at $4.20. Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities
 
Gold is buying $US1,231 an ounce. 
Light crude is $1.08 lower at $US81.01 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8813.

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