Market Wrap: Australian share market buoyed by miners November 18, 2010 05:25 PM
The Australian share market has inched up into positive territory after opening flat this morning. The banks offset mining gains as the share market edged up slightly. The Big Four all closed in the red today while miners BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO), Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX:NCM) and Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) made gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 16 points higher to finish at 4,640. On the futures market, the SPI200 up 21 points.
The Australian Bureau of Stastics has reported that the average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adult employees has risen by 0.4 per cent in the three months to August. The figure represents a 4.5 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) is facing a shareholder class action as hundreds of institutional and retail investors are taking the bank to court for losses related to the subprime mortgage crisis. 250 shareholders are claiming to have lost around $450 million because NAB did not disclose its exposure to subprime securities in 2007 and 2008. In 2006, NAB bought over of $1 billion worth of debt-related bonds called collateralised debt obligations. The value of these investments dramatically plunged following the subprime crisis. Shares in NAB closed 0.25 per cent lower at $24.37.
Australia’s largest supermarket chain Woolworths Ltd (ASX:WOW) says it is looking out for big acquisitions and has reaffirmed its forecast for full year profit growth of between 8 and 11 per cent. The company’s chairman James Strong told shareholders at the group’s annual meeting today that the firm remains open and alert to a range of major acquisitions. Last month, the retailer posted first quarter sales growth of 2 per cent, amidst tight consumer spending and an uncertain economic environment. Shares in Woolworths closed 0.87 per cent higher at $27.74.
Toll road operator Intoll Group Ltd (ASX:ITO) says traffic and revenue has increased in the first quarter of the 2011 financial year on both its assets, one in Canada and the Westlink M7 based in Sydney.
Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) chief executive Alan Joyce says up to 14 Rolls Royce engines on the airlines A380s will need to be inspected and potentially replaced.
AMP Ltd’s (ASX:AMP) $14 billion bid for rival fund manager AXA Asia Pacific (ASX:AXA) has secured the unanimous backing of AXA’s board, after one final dissenting director gave the deal his support.
David Jones Ltd (ASX:DJS) has recorded $466 million of sales in the first quarter of its 2011 financial year, a 1.2 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.
In the best and worst market performers: The best performing sector was Healthcare which closed 97 points higher to 8,479. The worst performing sector was Utilities with the index falling 32 points to 4,492. The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Sundance Resources as shares were 6.78 per cent higher to 31.50. Shares in Panoramic and St Barbara also closed higher. The worst performing stock was Infigen Energy down 11.72 per cent to $0.64. Shares in Ausenco and Platinum Australia also closed in the red.
In commodities, gold is trading at $US1,350 an ounce. Light crude is up $0.90 to $81.34.