Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon 5/26/14
By Juliettte Saly CommSec Market Analyst | May 26, 2014 5:50 PM EST
The Australian share market started the trading week in positive territory, following gains on offshore markets on Friday. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed at its highs of the day, up 20.1pts or 0.4 per cent to 5490.4 points, while the ASX 200 (XJO) finished above 5500 points at 5512.
Australian consumer confidence surges in February
Financial stocks were mixed while mining and energy players were generally well supported.
A report showed gold production in Western Australia is off to a weak start for the year, with wet weather interrupting production at several mines. 1Q production was down almost 7 per cent. Australia's largest listed gold producer Newcrest Mining (NCM) finished lower by 0.3 per cent to $10.26.
One standout performer was applied information company SAI Global (SAI), up 17 per cent to $5.01 as it mulls over a $1.1 billion takeover bid from private equity group Pacific Equity Partners. SAI also let go Chief Executive Stephen Proges after only four month in the top job, saying there were "fundamental differences of opinion between him and the board."
Lynas Corp (LYC) rose 15.4 per cent to 15c as it completed its share purchase program. Lynas announced earlier this month it intended to raise a minimum of $30 million through a share purchase plan to boost working capital at its Malaysian materials plant.
Qantas (QAN) rose to $1.36, a gain of 2.3 per cent, as the market speculated a potential domestic price war with rival Virgin Australia (VAH) may not occur, with QAN scrapping plans to add extra seats during the busy July-September travel period. VAH was steady at 42c.
In economic data, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of petrol fell by 0.7 cents per litre to 149.5 cents a litre in the week to May 25 - only the second time in six months that the national average price has fallen below $1.50 a litre.
On the market overall, a total of 1.5 billion shares changed hands, worth $3.1 billion. 516 were up, 413 were down and 393 were unchanged.
At 4.45pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5524, up 13 points.
Ahead tonight, US and UK markets will be closed for public holidays.
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