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News: Market Wrap: ASX rockets 2.3% as rally fires up



  1. The Australian share market rocketed out of the red to erase all weekly losses over a stellar session. Global gains pushed the benchmark index higher at open and the rally fired up to a 2.3 per cent rise by close. Strength across the board was led by the mining sector on the back of higher commodity prices and upbeat earnings. 
     
    On the economic front official lending figures showed personal lending commitments fell in December but business and housing lending rose. The Reserve Bank Governor’s testimony was also in focus and fuelled speculation the key cash rate could have further to fall this year.

    The week ahead will see a quieter economic calendar but local earnings reports will continue to remain in the spotlight.  
     
    Figures
     
    The S&P/ASX 200 index rallied 134 points today, erasing the weekly loss and gaining 57 points over the week to close at 5,878 points. 
     
    The value of trades was $6.8 billion on volume of 962 million shares at the close of trade. 
     
    The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA). 
     
    On the futures market the SPI is 102 points stronger. 
     
    Wall Street
     
    America’s major indexes have climbed over the trading week so far: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.8 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has risen 1.6 per cent. The NASDAQ has jumped 2.3 per cent. The 100 Index has spiked 2.7 per cent. 
     
    Company news
     
    Shares in Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) surged to the benchmark’s best performer after its first half net profit climbed to almost $75 million and its underlying profit gained 53 per cent. The metals recycler described the result as encouraging and says it shows the group is making progress through its streamlining, optimising, and growth initiatives. Shares in Sims Metal Management surged 10.64 per cent to end the week at $11.75. 
     
    Shares in Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) slipped after unveiling a first half net profit of $200 million but opting not to pay an interim dividend. The mining company has also confirmed its annual gold and copper production guidance for the 2015 financial year after upgrading the figures last month. Shares in Newcrest Mining slipped 0.07 per cent to end the week at $13.90. 
     
    Shares in Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) ended 6.5 per cent stronger after traders responded to the company increasing its annual net profit by 78 per cent to $US6.5 billion. The mining giant’s result was aided by cost cutting, partially offsetting the impact of declining commodity prices over 2014. 
     
    Shares in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) finished 4.8 per cent higher despite warning copper production at its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia is poised to decline this financial year. Earlier this week Australia’s biggest miner confirmed an employee was fatally injured while working at the site.  
     
    Best and worst performers
     
    All sectors were buoyant: The best performing sector was materials, lifting 4.1 per cent to close at 9,504.
    The sector with the fewest gains was utilities, adding 0.8 per cent to close at 6,606 points.
     
    The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM), rising 10.64 per cent to close at $11.75. Shares in Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) also closed higher.
     
    The worst performing stock was Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB), dropping 5.67 per cent to close at $4.16. Shares in Magellan Financial Group Limited (ASX:MFG) and Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (ASX:AGI) also closed lower. 
     
    Commodities
     
    The price of gold is buying $US1,228 an ounce, down $39.89 over the week. 
    Light crude is $2.38 higher at $US52.16 a barrel.
     
    Currencies
     
    The Australian dollar is buying $0.7785, down $0.0048 over the week. 

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