Local stocks edged slightly higher on the back of a good performance by regional markets and a rally in the resources sector.

The All Ordinaries Index closed up five points to 5,083 and the ASX 200 added 0.1 per cent to 5,092.

returned to profitability in the last financial year.

Qantas reported a net profit of $5 million for the 12 months to the end of June, after a loss of $245 million the year before.

The airline said the result was boosted by steady improvement in its international business and the growth of its discount airline Jetstar in Asia.

Shareholders will not receive a dividend for the year.

Meanwhile, shopping centre operator Westfield Group posted a 35 per cent fall in its half-year earnings.

Westfield made $515 million in the six months to the end of June. Its shares fell 0.75 per cent today.

Private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care gained 5.3 per cent after delivering a nine per cent rise in its full-year net profit to $266.4 million.

, despite reporting a slight fall in its fourth-quarter sales.

In economic news, there was a bigger-than-expected rise in the amount of money businesses have traditionally spent in the June quarter.

Bureau of Statistics figures showed a four per cent rise in capital expenditure, defying expectations of a flat result.

Investment intentions, however, have been revised down across all sectors, including mining and manufacturing, suggesting economic growth may stall next year.

Figures from the Housing Industry Association showed new home sales fell for the first time in five months in July.

They were down 4.7 per cent, with detached home sales slumping in Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.

BHP Billiton enjoyed strong gains, rising 1.6 per cent, while the big four banks saw mixed results and Telstra lost 0.6 per cent.

Around 5.00pm AEST, the Australian dollar was higher at 89.63 US cents.

On the cross-rates it is buying 67.4 euro cents, 57.73 British pence, 87.7 Japanese yen and $1.14 in New Zealand.

West Texas Crude oil was worth $US110.12 a barrel, the price of a barrel Tapis eased to $US122.48 and spot gold was lower at $US14.10 an ounce.

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