Despite mixed offshore leads the Australian share market has lifted 0.5 per cent on news Germany and France have agreed on a second bailout for debt laden Greece. Most sectors have stepped into positive territory, with the financials leading the gains and the miners also up after some positive production reports.
The S&P/ASX200 index has lifted 22 points and is 4,572 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points higher.
National Australia Bank’s quarterly business survey has shown that business conditions lifted slightl, but business confidence was dragged down by factors such as weakening consumer demand, concerns over European debt and a stronger Australian dollar. NAB has reported business conditions added 1 point to +3, while business confidence dropped 5 points to +6.
Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) have continued to rally on news the Africa-focused iron ore miner has attracted the attention of yet another suitor. At the beginning of the week Sundance received a $1.4 billion takeover offer from its largest shareholder, China’s Hanlong Mining. Speculation has now emerged that Swiss mining giant Xstrata is eyeing the Sundance in addition to considering a counter-bid for Macarthur Coal Ltd (ASX:MCC). Shares in Sundance Resources have advanced 7.07 per cent and are trading at $0.53.
Shares in Dart Energy Limited (ASX:DTE) have risen after the coal seam gas explorer announced it has signed a five-year sales deal with UK-listed utility, SSE Energy Supply Ltd. Under the sales agreement SSE Energy Supply will purchase gas at prices linked to the UK natural gas market, likely to be higher than in Australia. In order to meet the gas volume’s required Dart estimates up to 20 wells will be needed to ramp-up to the first gas sales and an extra 10 to 12 wells annually to sustain production rates. Shares in Dart Energy have gained 4.65 per cent and are trading at $0.675.
The best performing sector is Financials Excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts, rising 46 points to 4,816. Shares in AMP are 2.37 per cent stronger and trading at $4.76. Shares in Macquarie Group and National Australia Bank are also higher. The worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts losing 2 points to 816. Shares in Westfield Group are 0.96 per cent lower and trading at $8.29. Shares in Stockland and Commonwealth Property Office Fund have also eased.
The NZSX50 is up 10 points. Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Fletcher Building is at the top of the list with stock up 0.49 per cent at $8.16 followed by Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, ANZ and Westpac.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,600 an ounce. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0756 cents.