Midday: Aussie stocks higher

Market Reports

The Aussie stock market is higher at midday, following a strong start to the US reporting period with mining stocks leading the gains at noon.

The S&P/ASX200 index is up 66 points at 4,446 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 70.

To economic news: The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations skilled job vacancies index rose 0.3% to a read of 46.4 in July.

To company news: Elders Ltd (ELD) has announced that benchmark prices will not change for Tasmanian bluegum woodchip for export to Japan. The agribusiness says the existing $207.40 free on board per bone dry metric tonne for environmentally certified grown Tasmanian bluegum exported from Australia, will remain. The price is applicable for the entire 2010 calendar year and contracted volumes have been increased by over 12% to more than 370,000 green metric tonnes per annum. Shares in Elders are 2% higher at $0.51.

Biotech company ChemGenex (ASX:CXS) has agreed on a potential regulatory path with the US Food and Drug Administration to continue its work on a treatment for patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. ChemGenex says it will use the results of two studies to submit a new drug application for its Leukaemia drug Omapro. Shares in ChemGenex are up 21.05% at $0.345

Turning now to market indices: All indices are in positive territory at midday, however the index with the biggest gain is the Materials sector, up 206 points to 11,706. Shares in Aquarius Platinum are 5.17% higher at $5.49. Shares in Incitec Pivot and Iron Ore Holdings are also higher at noon.

And the index with the smallest gain is the Health Care sector, up 12 points to 8,312. Shares in Sonic Healthcare dropped 1.23% to $10.41. Shares in Ansell and CSL Ltd are also lower at noon.

To New Zealand now and the NZSX50 is up 16 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Telecom of New Zealand heads the list with stock up 1.02% at $1.98 followed by; Fletcher Building, Sky Network Television and Guinness Peat Group.

To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at US$1,211.95 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 88.39 US cents.