The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.2%, or by 12.7 points, to 5248.3 points on Wednesday. The banks finished mixed, with ANZ up 0.6 per cent to $28.56, Commonwealth Bank firming 0.1 per cent to $75.81, National Australia Bank falling 0.1 per cent to $31.72 and Westpac dropping 0.3 per cent to $30.75. Among the other blue chips, Telstra gained 0.4 per cent to $5.47 and Rio Tinto put on 1.2 per cent to $52.78.
BHP Billiton added 1 per cent to $24.23 after making a better-than-expected start to the 2016 financial year, with its iron ore, copper and petroleum divisions performing ahead of where most analysts were predicting.Woolworths put on 0.5 per cent to $26.95 as speculation mounts it will pull the plug on the loss-making Masters chain, its $2.2 billion foray into the home-improvement market. Medibank Private slipped 2.3 per cent to $2.49 after chief executive George Savvides announced he would retire in March next year, little more than a year after the federal government floated the insurer in a $5.7 billion IPO To read the complete report click here