A pedestrian holding her mobile phone looks at an electronic board showing graphs of various countries' stock market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
In broad terms the ASX 200 was able to maintain the levels that had been established in the early part of the day, although sellers had gained an edge in mid-afternoon trade when the index retreated from 5470 back towards 5455. Buyers returned in the final half hour of trade seeing the market close at 5457.
One factor supporting the banking sector in the 2nd half of the session was the better than expected reading on lending finance. Total lending finance soared by 7.6% in June driven by a 12.1% lift in business lending. Total new lending in June was $72.9 billion which was the highest reading since January 2008. While growth is being driven by business lending, both personal and housing loans are well up on a year ago. The figures show that consumers and businesses are embracing cheap financing.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) held on to early gains which were inspired by a better than expected result which saw underlying cash profit rise by almost 10% in the year ending in June 2014. BEN shares ended up 2.3% at $12.46.
In company news, Home entertainment product retailer JB Hi-Fi
(JBH) reported its full year numbers today. Headline sales were slightly below market expectations but profit was up 10% year on year to $128.36Million. Furthermore JBH told the market that their July sales numbers had fallen by 3.2% resulting in a share price fall of 7.3% today, closing at $17.84.
Today saw a telling performance in Crown Resorts (CWN) whose shares declined in a rising market. The group's joint venture in Macau, Melco Crown, has seen the weak profit result from last week continue to cast a cloud over investor sentiment. Investors remain wary about the group's prospects in the second half of the year. CWN shares ended the session slightly lower at $14.67.
Resource stocks and energy stocks ended mid field in terms of their improvements on Monday. Woodside Petroleum (WPL) shares ended with modest gains after the group announced it had bought a 40% stake in a joint venture, (deep water exploration project) off the west coast of Africa. WPL has entered into an agreement with US energy giant Noble Energy securing an interest in the exploration and production in acreage off the coast of Gabon.
The US$ oil price rose by US$0.21 or 0.22% at the close of Australian trade to US$97.86 a barrel, and the gold price fell by US$3.00 or 0.23% to US$1,308 an ounce.
The Australian dollar has closed up slightly at US$0.9279.
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