Caution contains gains by stocks

Published in the Herald Sun, June 2010 by Nicole Stevens

Australian shares closed higher in quiet trade yesterday, with big miners and gold stocks pushing the market up.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 24.6 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 4551.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 27.1 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4574.1 points.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange the September futures contract closed 12 points higher at 4545 points, with 22,157 contracts traded.

Wealth Within chief analyst Dale Gillham said investors remained cautious despite the market's recovery to a one-month high on Wednesday.

"Despite the general upward movement of the market over the past week the rise hasn't been convincing," he said.

"We are now at the end of the third week of June and the All Ordinaries Index has only risen 2 per cent for the month.

"Further to this, the rise occurred on slightly lower volume, which indicates there is still uncertainty about the likelihood for the market to move forward."

David Jones finished 2c down at $4.49 after earlier announcing the resignation of chief executive Mark Mclnnes because of his inappropriate behaviour towards a female employee.

Global mining giant BHP Billiton rose 31c to $39.13, with rival Rio Tinto gaining 78c at $70.85.

The price of gold closed at $US1244.27 a fine ounce in Sydney, up $9.67 from Thursday.

In New York overnight the gold price had surged to a record high, settling at $US1248.70 a fine ounce.

Locally gold miner Newcrest Mining added 60c, or 1.73 per cent, to $35.24 while Lihir Gold rose 9c, or 2 per cent, to $4.35.

Australia's major lenders gained ground, with Westpac leading the sector higher and closing up 30c, or 1.7 per cent, at $23.56.

ANZ rose 19c to $23.14 after announcing it signed a memorandum of understanding with China Development Bank to drive trade and investment flows between China and New Zealand.

National Australia Bank rose 32c, or 1.29 per cent, to $25.12 while Commonwealth Bank closed up 9c at $52.59.

James Hardie Industries, which has finalised its transformation to an Irish Societas Europaea company, finished 6c lower at $6.70.

Retailers were led upwards by Woolworths, which added 11c to $27.91 and Wesfarmers, which rose 30c to $29.24.

Airport owner MAP Group finished 2c higher at $2.96 after news it experienced strong growth in passenger numbers at its Australian and European airports in May as operations returned to normal after the volcanic ash cloud over Europe in April.

The most traded share by volume was Environment Clean Technology, with 121.47 million shares traded for $5.6 million. The stock lost 0.5c, or 10 per cent, to 4c.

In other news, iron ore miner Grange Resources said a rock slide at its Savage River mine in Tasmania on Thursday was not expected to affect the operation and shares rose 1c, or 2 per cent, to 51.5c.

Market turnover was 2.12 billion securities traded worth $5.03 billion, with 599 stocks up, 475 down and 383 unchanged.

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