Market Wrap: ASX snaps four days of losses

Market Reports

Following a week and morning in the red the Australian share market clawed higher and ended on positive ground. The benchmark lifted from the lows of the session, bolstered by strength among gold, retailing, financial and property stocks. Energy stocks stayed down throughout the session after the price of crude oil fell under $US80 per barrel for the first time in four years.  
In the week ahead it central banks will be in focus with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting minutes due on Tuesday and the US Federal Reserve’s minutes due Wednesday. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 12 points today, trimming the weekly loss of 95 points to close at 5,454.
The value of trades was $3.59 billion on volume of 548 million shares at the close of trade. 
The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher. 
Wall Street
America’s major indexes have gained over the trading week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.2 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has added 0.05 per cent. The NASDAQ has added 0.6 per cent. The 100 Index has added 0.9 per cent. 
Company news
News Corp’s (ASX:NWS) Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch says his eldest son, Co-Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, will lead the media company to ‘a very prosperous and bright future’. Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) Mr Murdoch fired up succession speculation when highlighting his son’s skills and describing him as a committed, talented and successful executive. Shares in News Corp dropped 1.1 per cent to end the week at $17.07. 
Property developer Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) has spruiked an upbeat outlook on the back of growth in its residential business in Australia and the UK. CEO Steve McCann told shareholders at the company’s AGM Lend Lease has a $38 billion development pipeline and is well placed to benefit from the $50 billion infrastructure spend foreshadowed in Australia. Shares in Lend Lease Group rose 0.57 per cent to end the week at $15.94. 
GDI Property Group Limited (ASX:GDI) says it is on track to deliver funds from operations and distribution guidance in the year ahead. The real estate investment trust’s Managing Director Steve Gillard also told shareholders at the company’s AGM it has identified a number of potential acquisitions and intends to launch a large fund early next year. 
APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN, NZX:APN) has denied the potential initial public offering of its New Zealand assets has been cancelled. The media group says it continues to assess strategic options for its rebranded New Zealand business, NZME, including a possible IPO. 
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was consumer discretionary, adding 0.6 per cent to close at 1,852.
The worst performing sector was energy, losing 1.6 per cent to close at 13,017 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN), rising 5 per cent to close at $0.42. Shares in M2 Group Limited (ASX:MTU) and Independence Group NL(ASX:IGO) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA), dropping 12.56 per cent to close at $0/94. Shares in Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) and Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) also closed lower. 
The price of gold is buying $US1,158 an ounce, up $23.13 over the week. 
Light crude is $2.97 lower at $US74.21 a barrel. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8686, up $0.013 over the week. 

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