The Australian share market has extended its pre-Christmas cheer, gaining about 0.6 per cent with all the sectors pushing forth at noon.
The miners are continuing their run from yesterday after the iron ore price gained more momentum. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) has gained 1.7 per cent, ahead of Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and South32 (ASX:S32) with added over 1 per cent, while the likes of Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) added over 3 per cent.
Salmon farmer, Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) also made its way as one of the best shiners this session, gaining about 2.4 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 33 points up or 0.55 per cent higher at 6,072 .
On the futures market the SPI is 32 points higher.
Local economic news
The RBA advised in its meeting minutes that although the global growth outlook had improved, commodity prices and Australia's terms of trade were expected to decline in the period ahead, but remain at high levels.
The RBA also noted growth in employment, particularly full-time employment, had risen and the unemployment rate had fallen to a four-year low. Just some of the reasons why it kept the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent earlier this month.
The owner of Donut King, Brumby's Bakery, Michel's Patisserie and Gloria Jean’s, Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) again made its way as one of the worst performers today, losing over 20 per cent after it downgraded its first half 2018 statutory net profit after tax to be $20 million, down from $33 million in the first half of 2017. The business will also see a one off write down of $7 million post tax amid the firms review, and losses on the sale of corporate properties. Shares in Retail Food Group are trading 22 per cent lower at $2.07.
Meantime, New Zealand retirement village and aged care service provider, Summerset Group Holdings (ASX:SNZ) has upgraded its profit guidance by up to 40 per cent, to the range of NZ$77 million to $79 million. The firm said it was on the back strengthening resales and new occupancy sales. Summerset also expected the solid growth to continue. Shares in Summerset Group Holdings are flat at $4.74
Surveying services firm Veris (ASX:VRS) has won a contract for Melbourne’s metro $11 billion tunnel project. Veris will deliver over $100 million of surveying and site investigation works and other services over 10 years with major works to beginning in 2018. Veris shares are trading 7.5 per cent higher at $0.18.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining almost 1 per cent to 11,203. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) have risen 4.4 per cent and trading at $1.20. Shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Western Areas (ASX: WSA) are also stronger.
The sector with the least gains is Utilties, adding 0.07 per cent to 8,457. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) have fallen 0.4 per cent, trading at $8.63. Shares in Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) are lower and Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) is flat.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,261 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 76.62 US cents.
Bitcoin has gained 1.4 per cent in the last 24 hours to US$19,024
Ethereum gained about 13 per cent to $798
And Ripple has gained about 9 per cent to 77.59 us cents.