The Australian share market has gained about 0.6 per cent, following record leads from Wall Street, on hopes of US tax cuts being approved. The main index, the ASX200, popped up at the open, gaining strength in the first two hours of trade, with the majority of sectors pushing higher and materials galloping ahead after the iron ore price soared over 6 per cent.
Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are trading over 1.6 per cent higher, while BHP (ASX:BHP) is seeing similar gains, while Orocobre (ASX:ORE) is in the lead, gaining almost 5.6 per cent at noon.
ANZ (ASX:ANZ) is also leading the banks and its shares have gained about 2 per cent after it announced a share buyback.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.56 per cent higher or 34 points up to 6,031 points.
On the futures market the SPI is up 32 points up.
Local economic news out today
In breaking news, the Government announced it's expecting to improve its underlying cash deficit in 2017-18, by $5.8 billion compared to the deficit reported at the 2017-18 Budget. It’s now expecting a $23.6 billion underlying deficit. This was better than economist predicted.
We saw the downward trend in new motor vehicles sales continue, according to the ABS. The trend estimate fell by 0.3 per cent in November when compared with October.
One of Australia's largest gaming and entertainment groups, Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) has appointed a previous MD and the head of Australasia at UBS Global Asset Management, Ben Heap to it board. He also worked as head of Infrastrucutre for the giant. Subject to casino regulatory approval, the group appointed Ben Heap a non-executive director. He is a founding partner of H2 Ventures, a fintech, data and artificial intelligence venture capital firm. Shares in Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) are trading 0.42 per cent higher to $5.96.
Orocobre (ASX:ORE) is expecting lithium carbonate contract order prices will be 25 per cent higher in the June 2018 half year, than its previously advised prices. Despite that, the company says its previous pricing guidance for the December quarter will remain unchanged. The company says contract prices are rising in all markets and demand will continue to exceed supply for the foreseeable future. At noon, its shares gained 5.6 per cent to $6.22.
Aurora Oil & Gas (Aurora) offshoot, Australis Oil and Gas (ASX:ATS) appointed Darren Wasylucha as Chief Corporate Officer to bolster the firms legal and commercial experience before ramping up its drilling plans in 2018. Shares in Australis Oil and Gas (ASX:ATS) last traded at $0.24.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials,1.13 per cent higher to 11,070 points. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) are trading 5.6 per cent higher to $6.22. Shares in Western Areas (ASX: WSA) and Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 0.4 per cent to 10,474 points. Shares in Worleyparsons (ASX:WOR) have shed 1.35 per cent to $13.92 Shares in Oil Search (ASX:OSH) and Washington H Soul Pattinson & Company (ASX:SOL) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,254 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 76.47
Bitcoin has shed 4.22 per cent to $18,519, having hit the $20,000 point earlier.
Ethereum is 2.00 per cent lower to $695
And Litecoin down 1.00 percent to $308