5:30 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes traded higher in moderate trading and the Aussie dollar held firm near 79 U.S. cents. James Hardie soared 11% after the company offered a special dividend and announced a stock buyback program.
Australian market indexes traded higher and bargain hunters stepped up to increase exposure in mining and banking stocks.
Australian dollar closed at 78.98 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover rose to 891 million shares worth $5.5 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index gained 50 or 0.9% to 5,662.30 and the broader All Ordinaries Index increased 49.60 to 5,663.60.
In commodities trading, gold added US$4 to US$1,210 an ounce and Brent crude rose 0.30 cents to close at US$65.33 a barrel.
Wealth Defender Equities Limited
surged 66.7% to 50 cents after the diversified investment company priced its stock at $1.
The stock opened at $1 and closed at 99 cents.
Eclipx Group Limited
climbed 2.9% to $2.78 after the sportswear products maker priced its stock at 20 cents.
The stock opened at 30 cents and closed at 38 cents.
Australian Stock Movers
BHP Billiton Limited
gained 1.5% to $29.24 and the agreed to pay fine of $25 million to the U.S. regulatory commission for violating anti-corruption laws by sponsoring foreign government officials to attend Beijing Olympics in the 2008 at a cost between $12,000 and $16,000 per person.
James Hardie Industries plc
surged 11.6% to $16.99 after the construction materials maker reported net sales in the year ending in March soared 11% to $1.66 billion from $1.49 billion in a year ago period.
Net profit in the year climbed 192.8% to $291.3 million compared to $99.5 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 65 cents from 22 cents in the same period a year ago.
The company unveiled a new share buyback program for up to 22.3 million shares.
Service Stream Limited
climbed 8% to 27 cents after the network services provider forecasted operating profit for the year ending in June of about $23.5 million, 41.6% jump from a year ago quarter.
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co
jumped 2.2% to $9.25 after the dairy products maker said revenues in the nine-month period ending in March slid 0.2% to $454.2 million from $455 million in a year ago period.
Net income in the period soared 126.6% to $34.3 million compared to $15.1 million and diluted earnings per share increased to 61.2 cents from 38.1 cents in the same period a year ago.
climbed 2.9% to $10.38 after the engineering construction contractor agreed to pay US$78 million to an affiliate of Exxon Mobil Corp. to settle the dispute on construction of a large drilling platform in waters off Russia's eastern coast.