Midday: Aus shares shrug off US fiscal fears

Market Reports

Shrugging off US fiscal fears the Australian share market has risen 0.7 per cent at noon. Local stocks looked past negative leads amid a political stalemate in Washington which has seen the US government shut-down for the past two days.  
 
Most sectors have gained in morning trade with the miners charging ahead on the back of stronger commodity prices. Industrials are the only major sector trading in the red with construction giant Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) slumping after responding to accusations of multi-million dollar bribery. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has risen 37 points to 5,252.5. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points higher. 
 
Economic news
 
Activity in Australia’s services sector has recorded its best result in six months, easing at a slower rate last month. Ai Group chief Innes Willox says, "Business and consumer confidence appears to have lifted since the federal election in early September, but benefits in terms of actual sales and activity to date are muted." The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Services Index added 8.1 points to 47.1 in September, but still remained below 50 which indicates contraction in the sector. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) have lifted 3.19 per cent after the mineral sands producer vowed to start feasibility work soon on a newly acquired tenement in Sri Lanka which Iluka says contains a large mineral sand resource. 
 
Shares in AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) have risen 1.24 per cent after the oil and gas explorer and its joint venture partners, New Zealand Oil & Gas (ASX:NZO) and Pan Pacific Petroleum (ASX:PPP) said they will boost their stake in the Tui Area Oil Project offshore New Zealand through buying Mitsui's 35 per cent interest. 
 
Shares in Primero Mining Corp (ASX:PPM) have gained 3.4 per cent after the Canadian-based precious metals producer flagged its intention to delist from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) due to low volume trading compared with the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). 
 
Shares in Cellmid Limited (ASX:CDY) have surged 21.43 per cent after the biotechnology company said the latest studies using its lead anti-midkine antibody have produced compelling results. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is materials gaining 110 points to 9,697. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) have risen 5.63 per cent and trading at $2.25. Shares in Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) are also stronger. 
 
The only major sector trading in the red is industrials, falling 6.5 points to 3,974. Shares in Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) have fallen 8.84 per cent, trading at $17.85. Shares in Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) and Boart Longyear Limited (ASX:BLY) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,312 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 93.92 US cents.