Despite lack lustre leads from Wall Street on Friday, the Australian share market opened in the black and is now tracking 0.38% higher at noon. The big banks and the energy stocks are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting so far, after the price of brent crude went up overnight. The materials space is leading the losses with the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto down around 0.8 per cent. Gold stocks have also taken a hit after the price of the precious metal had a small decline.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 21 points higher at 5,451. On the futures market the SPI is up 20 points.
Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) has been notified by InterOil Corporation that it has received a ‘superior proposal’ from Exxon Mobil, Oil Search’s co-venturer in, and operator of the PNG LNG project. The proposal from Exxon Mobil from InterOil comprises a fixed price of US$45 per InterOil share paid in Exxon Mobil shares as well as a contingent resource payment, as outlined in the proposal. Shares in Oil Search are trading up 2.79 per cent at $7.17.
Global Geoscience Limited (ASX:GSC) says rock chip sampling at its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project in Nevada confirms the potential to recover greater than 90 per cent lithium using a low cost weak-acid leach process. The company says the results provide further evidence that the hosted lithium can be extracted without the need for high-cost processing. Shares in Global Geoscience are trading up 12 per cent at $0.084.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 1.1 per cent to 8,478. Shares in Whitehaven have risen 3.61 per cent and trading at $1.72. Shares in OilSearch and Worley Parsons are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 0.3 per cent to 8,792. Shares in Sims Metal Management have fallen 3.83 per cent, trading at $8.80. Shares in Sandfire Resources and Independence Group are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,326 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7590.