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Sydney, July 16, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - US stocks posted strong gains overnight after Intel Corp. forecast sales that beat analysts' estimates. Optimism was further boosted as manufacturing data suggested the recession is abating, and the Federal Reserve also raised its expectations for GDP growth.

The Australian share market yesterday ended higher for a second day, following another rise on Wall Street. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 57.4 points, or 1.5 per cent, at 3924.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 58.7 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 3917.5 points. Trading volumes were still light as the local market was awaiting more upbeat earnings reports from the US to solidify confidence.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index found that the annual rate of business activity had contracted by 3.9 percent in May, compared with a 4.1 per cent fall in April. The index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, had shown steady but modest improvement.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases international merchandise imports data for June. The Reserve Bank of Australia is to unveil its monthly bulletin.

M&A News

Cape Lambert Iron Ore (ASX:CFE) plans to acquire a substantial slice of junior uranium explorer Cauldron Energy (ASX:CXU). Cape Lambert said it would take a stake of up to 18.7 per cent in Cauldron following the conversion of a A$2.3 million convertible note. Cape Lambert would gain exposure to Cauldron's uranium projects in Australia and Argentina through the transaction. Cape Lambert also launched an off-market scrip bid for junior mineral sands explorer Corvette Resources (ASX:COV).

Important Corporate News

Waste management company Transpacific Industries Group (ASX:TPI) has launched a multi-pronged recapitalisation plan in an attempt to reduce its A$2 billion-plus debt. The proceeds from an A$801million equity raising involves a 1.77-for-one pro-rata renounceable entitlement offer to raise about A$737 million and a A$64 million placement to Hong Kong-based WP Holdings at $1.80 per share.

Toll-road group Transurban (ASX:TCL) announced that the refinancing of a A$515 million debt facility on Sydney's Eastern Distributor toll-road. Transurban will pay significantly higher interest rates on the new facility, with the five and seven-year tranches of the debt priced at up to 170 basis points above the maturing facility.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group (ASX:MIG) said the group's portfolio was valued at about A$5.1 billion as at June 30, with net asset backing estimated at about A$2.54 per stapled security. MIG said it expected economic conditions on the second half of 2008/09 would continue to be difficult.

Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) announced in April a number of planned changes to its production base because of weaker demand associated with global economic conditions and high minerals sand feedstock inventories in major markets.

Australia's third largest gold producer Sino Gold (ASX:SGX) has delivered a 51 per cent increase in gold production compared with this time last year. The Sino group produced a record 53,367 ounces in the quarter ended June 30, up from 35,412 ounces in the June quarter last year.

Contact

Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344
Email: michelle.liang@abnnewswire.net


Related Companies

Transurban Group        
Transpacific Industries Group Ltd        
Sino Gold Limited       
Migme Limited        
Iluka Resources Limited         
Corvette Resources Limited          
Cape Lambert Resources Limited          

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