Midday: ASX on the ascent

Market Reports

Defying modest offshore leads the Australian share market jumped sharply higher at open and is 0.7 per cent up at midday, with energy stocks leading the way forward at this stage. The banks and retailers are also enjoying the day thus far, while the Aussie dollar is continuing to slip towards the 90 US cent mark. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 38 points up at 5,085. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points higher. 
 
Economic news
 
The RBA says credit growth in the private sector rose by 0.4 per cent in June, following a 0.3 per cent lift in May. The central bank reported in its financial aggregates for June that annual growth came in at 3.1 per cent. Housing credit grew by 0.4 per cent for the month while business credit increased by 0.5 per cent.
 
Company news 
 
Clough Limited (ASX:CLO) shares have soared in early trade following a takeover bid from South African contractor Murray & Roberts, already a 61.6 per cent stakeholder. The conditional bid is a  $1.46 per share cash and dividend offer, representing a 30.9 per cent premium to Clough’s closing price yesterday. Murray & Roberts would pay $1.32 in cash per share, while Clough would chip in a fully franked dividend of $0.14 per share. Shares in Clough are trading up 28.03 per cent at $1.43. 
 
Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) will keep production at its Malaysian advanced materials plant at phase one levels until prices recover in the currently weak rare earths market. The company says it produced 144 tonnes and shipped 117 tonnes in the June quarter, while maintaining its phase one capacity level of 11 thousand tonnes per annum until market prices recover. Shares in Lynas are trading down 4.12 per cent at $0.41. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy gaining 149 points to 13,304. Shares in Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) have risen 6.97 per cent and trading at $1.34. Shares in Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT) and Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Real estate investment trusts, falling 2 points to 1,034. Shares in BWP Trust (ASX:BWP) have fallen 1.98 per cent, trading at $2.47. Shares in Investa Office Fund (ASX:IOF) and Stockland (ASX:SGP)are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,334 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.9040.