Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon 2/7/14

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The Australian share market rallied for a second session today, adding 0.7 per cent by close after a better than expected jobless claims report released in the US overnight.

Over the course of the week however the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) lost 0.4 per cent.

In company news, News Corporation beat expectations with its second quarter profit, which came in at US$151 million thanks to lower legal costs associated with the News of the World phone hacking scandal, its acquisition of Fox Sports Australia and strong sales from its publishing business. Revenue fell 4pct as expected to US$2.24 billion due to lower advertising sales. NWS shares rose in afterhours trade in New York and added 8.2 per cent on our market to $18.61.

Canadian oil company Baytex Energy today launched a $1.8 billion bid to fully takeover Australian listed Aurora Oil and Gas (AUT) for $4.10 a share. AUT added 56 per cent today to finish at $4.09.

Woodside Petroleum (WPL) has signed a new deal to buy into the giant Leviathan gas field off the coast of Israel and will pay US$850 million on completion of the transaction for a 25 per cent stake. WPL finished slightly lower today.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank today upgraded its economic growth and inflation forecasts in its Statement on Monetary Policy. Growth is expected to lift by a quarter of a per cent to 2.75 per cent by June 2014. Underlying inflation is expected to lift to 3 per cent by June 2014.

On the market overall, a total of 2 billion shares changed hands, worth $5.2 billion. 639 were up, 326 were down and 350 were unchanged.

At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5121, up 39 points.

The Australian dollar was buying US89.42c.

Ahead tonight, non-farm payrolls (jobs) data is released in the US.

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