ASX Market Report
Local Market Ends HigherTuesday, January 17 - The Australian share market climbed higher Tuesday, despite US markets being closed for the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.
The All Ordinaries rose 31.4 points (0.66%) to 4,817.3 while the ASX 200 firmed 29.7 points (0.61%) to 4,866.1.
Campbell Brothers (CPB) acquired two laboratory groups, Enviro-Test Laboratory Group (ETL) in Canada for $57m and Ecochem a.s. in the Czech Republic for $18m. The acquisitions have been funded by the money raised from the 1:5 rights issue. Directors now expect the full year result will show an increase of approximately 35 percent on the underlying profit achieved for the year ending March 2005. CPB firmed 49 cents (4.47%) to $11.45.
Excel Coal's (EXL) subsidiary, Wambo Coal, entered into a contract with Taiwan Power Company (TaiPower) to supply 3Mt of coal at the rate of 500,000tpa for 6 years starting 1 January 2006. Excel Coal has also entered into a contract with Cargill International to supply 1.8Mt of Excel Blend coal over 3 years, with 300,000 tonnes to be delivered in 2006, 600,000 tonnes in 2007 and 900,000 tonnes in 2008. EXL lost 7 cents (0.99%) to $6.98.
Hardman Resources (HDR) provided a progress report on its drilling at Block 2 Mputa-1 Wildcat, Uganda, reporting that the rig has completed repairs and drilled the well to total depth of 1,186m. The well encountered oil shows over two intervals within a deep objective and as of midnight on 16 January oil samples have been recovered from the upper interval, a sand of approximately 10m gross thickness at 965m with the sampling and pressure testing programme is continuing. Upon completion of the Mputa-1 exploration well operations, the rig will move to the Waraga-1 location. HDR strengthened 7 cents (3.69%) to $1.97.
United Group's (UGL) rail and infrastructure businesses has been awarded rolling stock and track and signalling works contracts worth over $90m. UGL gained 11 cents (0.96%) to $11.60.
Metal Storm (MST) has been awarded a two year contract worth approximately $975,000 from the US Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC) for the design, prototyping and demonstration of Metal Storm less-than-lethal munitions. MST rose 2 cents (7.69%) to 21 cents.
Babcock & Brown Japan Property Trust (BJT) revalued 11 of the 12 original properties of the trust by 8.2%, representing an increase of approximately $47m. The revaluation of the 11 properties takes the total value of the Trust's interests in its portfolio at 31 December 2005 to $731m. BJT fell 2 cents (0.88%) to $1.69.
Queensland Gas (QGC) reported that the Berwyndale South Project is on target to supply CS Energy with coal seam gas several months ahead of the contractual deadline of 31 July 2006. It added that the drilling program remains on track with 16 of 25 wells drilled and 9 wells completed for gas production. QGC firmed 2 cents (2.8%) to 74 cents.
Gunson Resources (GUN) reported first batch of assay results from Chianti Prospect, Mount Gunson Project. Significant intersections include: 2m @ 3.4% Cu and 0.2g/t Au; 6m @ 1.4% Cu and 0.1g/t Au. The company advised that the second of the two hole program at Chianti Prospect was completed yesterday at a depth of 561m. The company added that the drill rig has been released from the project today and a more suitable rig is scheduled to commence the remainder of its Mount Gunson drilling program, at Moseley Dam Prospect, next week. Further drilling at Chianti Prospect will await a geophysical study focused on the northern portion of the area. GUN weakened 3 cents (7.69%) to 36 cents.
In economic news, the number of housing finance approvals in Australia rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in November from October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. Economists surveyed ahead of the announcement on average had expected no change from October. The value of investment housing loans in November fell 3.7% from October. The bureau said its trend estimate for the number of housing finance approvals, which further smoothes seasonally adjusted data, rose 1.3% in November from October. In a breakdown of the data, the bureau said the number of finance approvals to build houses rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in November from October and the number of approvals to buy newly built houses fell 3.4%. The number of approvals for the purchase of established houses increased 0.5%. The total value of housing finance commitments, which feeds directly into the Reserve Bank of Australia's credit aggregates data, was A$18.3bn, down 0.4% from October.
The NZSX50 fell 3.21 points (0.1%) to 3,348.36 while the Nikkei weakened 334.17 points (2.05%) to be last quoted at 15,933.86 and the Hang Seng eased 26.58 points (0.17%) to be last quoted at 15,751.14.
The Australian dollar was last quoted at 75.41 US cents. from: http://www.aspecthuntley.com.au/af/m...+Market+Report