News: Market Wrap: Market marginally higher

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    The Australian share market closed marginally higher this afternoon, paring almost all of the gains it made in early trading.

    The S&P/ASX200 Index closed 6 points higher at 4,269. On the futures market, the SPI is 9 points higher.

    Economic news

    The ABS says home building approvals rose one per cent to 12,227 units in July, seasonally adjusted.

    Company news

    Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) reported a net profit after tax of $252.26 million for the year to June 30, a nine per cent rise on the previous corresponding period. The company said it was well-placed to take advantage of emerging opportunities, and remained cautious due to global volatility. It will pay a final dividend of six cents, taking the full year figure to 12 cents, fully franked. Shares in Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) ended the day 1.48 per cent lower at $2.

    Takeover target Macarthur Coal Limited (ASX:MCC) has received an increased offer of three per cent to $16 a share from Peabody and ArcelorMittal. The $4.9 billion takeover offer comes after a rival bidder failed to emerge. The Queensland-focused coal miner reccomends shareholders accept the revised offer. Shares in Macarthur Coal Limited (ASX:MCC) closed 0.38 per cent higher today at $15.86.

    Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited (ASX:CBA) has agreed today to buy Count Financial Limited, for an equity value of $373 million. The acquisition will raise the bank’s number of advisers to more than 1,850, from 1,220. Just yesterday, Count announced it had more than doubled its annual profit to $52 million.

    Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT), reported a full year net loss of $97.5 million for the 12 months to June, down from $33.1 million net profit the year before. The company says the result was due to costs related to stopping production at the BMG project. Beach declared a final dividend of one cent per share, fully franked, adding to an interim fully franked dividend of 75 cents per share.

    Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has its sights set high in the sky, after entering into a partnership with US consulting group Accenture to move into internet-based cloud computing services. The deal is part of an $800 million investment plan that the telco announced in June.

    And Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) reported a 71 per cent fall in full year profit, to $21.1 million from $73.1 million the year before. It will pay a final dividend of five cents per share, unfranked.

    The best and worst performers

    The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts, the index gaining 11 points to close at 794. The worst performing sector was telcos, losing 26 points to close at 1,028.

    The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA) shares gained 7.46 per cent to close at $1.585 cents. Shares in Transpacific (ASX:TPI) and Virgin Blue (ASX:VBA) also gained today.

    The worst performing stock was Goodman Fielder (ASX:GFF), shedding 7.1 per cent to close at 72 cents. Shares in Bathurst Resources (ASX:BTU) and Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) also fell today.


    Gold is trading lower at $US1,797 an ounce and Light crude is up 21 cents to $US87.48 a barrel.

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