The Santa rally continued to push full steam ahead for the Australian share market in the first two hours of trade, openning in the black and now gaining 0.63 per cent at noon. The big banks have continued on their dream run of the past six weeks, with CBA now sitting around the $82.50 mark. The materials space is the best performer this session after the price of iron ore edged up overnight, resulting in the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto gaining around 1 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 35 points up at 5,626. On the futures market the SPI is 27 points higher.
Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI) says further high grade assets results have been delivered from the fourth drill hole at the Maricunga lithium brine project in Chile. The Maricunga Joint venture is 50 per cent owned by Lithium Power International. The drilling program is expected to finish by the end of January 2017. Shares in Lithium Power International are trading up 1.96 per cent at $0.26.
Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) says the main mining lease of the Pilgangoora Lithium-tantalum project has now been granted by the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum. Pilbara has also secured the services of renowned lithium flotation specialist and long-serving Greenbushes lithium mine employee Dr Wenbo Wang. Shares in Pilbara Minerals are trading down 3.43 per cent at $0.49.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 1.22 per cent to 9,619. Shares in Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) have risen 3.85 per cent and trading at $7.96. Shares in Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) and Independence Group (ASX:IGO) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Industrials, falling 0.2 per cent to 5,175. Shares in Sydney Airport have fallen 3.75 per cent, trading at $6.16. Shares in Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) and ALS Limited (ASX:ALS) are also lower.
Axsesstoday Limited started trading today. The finance provider floated at $1.00, opened at $1.07 and is trading at $1.19.
Gold and the dollar
Finally, to gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,132 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7271.