The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) closed up 1.1% at 4,172.2, following strong leads from US markets overnight, and positive economic data today.
Better than expected retail sales for the month of May and record June car sales both contributed to the market’s gain. Retail sales for May came in at $21.3 billion, compared to $21.2 billion in April, a 0.5% rise. Analysts had only been expecting a 0.2% rise. June was a record month for new car sales, with more than 110,000 vehicles sold for the first time ever, thanks to end of financial year sales.
The Australian dollar jumped on the news, rising to a two-month high of 103.3 US cents.
In more positive economic news, spending on engineering projects rose 13.3% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to the previous quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Spending of $29.8 billion was an all-time high, led by the mining and energy sectors.
James Packer’s Crown Limited announced that it was seeking approval to buy up to 25% of Echo Entertainment’s shares. As I outlined earlier today, it could be interesting times ahead for Crown and Echo shareholders.
Foxtel, 50% owned by Telstra Limited (ASX: TLS), has announced a new television product after signing a deal with Samsung. Owners of Samsung Smart TVs who have a broadband service can now subscribe for a limited number of Foxtel channels, with no additional equipment required. This is the first time Foxtel has been offered through an unaffiliated broadband service.
Winners and losers
As my colleague, Scott Phillips mentioned today, Linc Energy Ltd (ASX: LNC) was 1.3% higher, on news that it was taking steps to cut costs by retrenching 60 workers. Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX: ORG) jumped 3.5% to $12.75, as the company announced that the second LNG production facility (or “train” in sector speak) will be commissioned at its Australia Pacific LNG joint-venture plant.
While your portfolios may have seen a nice rise today, remember it’s only one day, and to focus on the long term. Patience, Fools!
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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned. The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.