News: Market Wrap: Aus shares up

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    Ignoring weak offshore leads, the Australian share market opened higher this morning and continued to climb throughout the afternoon to close up almost one per cent.

    The S&P/ASX200 Index finished 43 points up at 4,573. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 29 points higher.

    Economic news

    RBA governor Glenn Stevens said that Australian consumers will eventually ramp up their spending from the sluggish pace of recent years, and the shift could come soon, if some uncertainties over the global outlook were to ease. The governor was speaking in Sydney on consumer caution today. He would not comment during question time on policy outlook.

    Company News

    Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) has won a contract with Xstrata Coal worth more than $400 million. The contract is for the development of a coal handling and preparation plant in the Hunter Valley, a win that Downer has been working on for more than two years with Xstrata. Downer said it already has a strong presence throughout the Hunter. Shares in Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) rose 3.18 per cent today, closing at $3.89.

    BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), has had its US$15.1 billion offer for Petrohawk Energy approved by US regulators. The takeover could be the global miner’s second in the US shalre gas sector for 2011 so far, after it bought shale assets from Chesapeake Energy for US$4.75 billion.

    Shares in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), closed 1.07 per cent higher today at $43.52.

    Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) has reported a coal production improvement of 47 per cent in the June quarter, a sure sign the company bounced back from extreme weather earlier in the year. Total coal sales jumped 82 per cent compared with the same time last year.

    Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) has secured a $157 million project with the US Army in Hawaii. The residential building project will be the largest residential privatisation project ever awarded by the US Army, with the construction of more than 5,200 new homes, and the renovation of more than 2,500 existing homes.

    Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) had good news today, reporting a revenue jump of 42 per cent from the previous quarter, with thanks to higher oil sales and prices. The company said operating revenue for the three months to June was $201 million, and the average realised oil price during the second quarter was 13.5 per cent higher than the quarter before.

    And Westpac (ASX:WBC) hit the headlines today for an overnight computer glitch. The company said this afternoon it was experiencing difficulties processing some payments, after a corrupt file in the bank’s processing routine stopped customers from being able to transfer money to or from accounts.

    Sectors and stocks

    The best performing sector was Energy, gaining 283 points to close at 14,971. The worst performing sector was Healthcare, dropping 36 points to close at 8,457.

    The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Ausdrill shares gained 8.57 per cent to close at $3.42. Shares in Gindalbie and Discovery Metals also closed in higher.

    The worst performing stock was Perseus, falling 3.03 per cent to close at $3.20. Shares in Bathurst Resources and Graincorp also closed in the red.



    Gold is trading at $US1,615 an ounce and Light crude is up 37 cents at $US99.57 a barrel.

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