5:30 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes closed higher in volatile trading and the Aussie dollar held firm. Business confidence and conditions in the March quarter declined according to NAB survey. Fortescue Metals soared 9% after strong demand for its bond offering.
Stocks in Sydney traded sideways and market indexes turned volatile at the opening after Chinese factory activities were deemed to be weaker-than-expected and commodities prices were generally eased.
On the domestic economic front, NAB quarterly business survey indicated confidence and business conditions in the first quarter to March declined.
Australian dollar closed at 77.45 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover increased to 760 million shares worth $5.1 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index rose 7.30 to 5,844.80 and the broader All Ordinaries Index gained 7.50 to 5,820.30.
In commodities trading, gold dropped US$14 to US$1,189 an ounce and Brent crude slid 0.38 cents to close at US$62.35 a barrel.
Australian Stock Movers
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
rose 0.6% to $1.64 after the beauty and health products retailer said revenues in the first-half ending in February jumped 3.2% to $1.71 billion from $1.66 billion in a year ago period.
Net in the period swung to profit of $21.3 million compared to a loss of $114.9 million and diluted earnings per share swung to 4.4 cents from diluted loss per share of 23.5 cents.
BC Iron Limited
surged 53.9% to 40 cents after the iron ore producer reported shipments in the third-quarter ending in March climbed 20% to 1.46 million tons with all-in cash costs of $52 per wet metric tone for the quarter and $52 per wet metric tone (FOB) for the month of March.
BC Iron had $46.9 million of debt and cash on hand of $107.5 million.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited
climbed 9.7% to $2.09 after the miner successfully increases its bond offering to $2.3 billion on a yield of 9.75% per year, a much larger offering than expected amid strong demand.
The offering is expected to settle on or about April 27. The bonds have maturity of 7 years with a non-call period of 3-years or full redemption of 2017, 2018 and partial redemption of the 2019.
Freedom Foods Group Ltd
jumped 4% to $3.12 after the “health-food” maker agreed to acquire Moxey Farms in New South Wales producing about 50 million liters of milk a year.