Midday: Aus shares take on holiday vibe

Market Reports

With half of Australia celebrating the Labour Day public holiday the Australian share market has started the week slightly higher in muted trade. 
 
Despite a partial US Government shutdown putting pressure of stocks last week, and preventing the release of the US jobs report, global markets ended last week on a high.
 
The ASX 200 index has moved onto positive territory in response but investors remain cautious ahead of the approaching US debt ceiling and ongoing negotiations. 

Figures
 
After dropping almost 2 per cent last week the S&P/ASX 200 index has lifted 1.5 points to 5,209.5. On the futures market the SPI is 1 point lower. 
 
Economic news 
 
Australian construction has risen to a three-and-a-half-year on the back of a recovery in the housing sector and improving buyer sentiment. The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) added 3.9 points to 47.6 in September but remained below 50 which indicates the sector still sits in contraction territory.
 
Company news
 
Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) says the $5 billion North Rankin Redevelopment Project has achieved start-up and exported gas to the Karratha Gas Plant in Western Australia.
 
Healthcare product developer Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) has secured first European approval in Germany for its AXIRON product for testosterone replacement therapy.
 
Engineering company Forge Group Limited (ASX:FGE) says it has scored more than $50 million in asset management contracts in North America and Australia since June 1 , 2013.  

Engineering company Austin Engineering Limited (ASX:ANG) has expanded its presence in northern Chile with a $US21 million purchase of a business which supplies heavy equipment lifting, transportation and site services to mining and industrial markets. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is energy gaining 27 points to 13,929. Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) have risen 1.98 per cent and trading at $14.41. Shares in Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) and Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 13.5 points to 9,561. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) have fallen 5.73 per cent, trading at $2.14. Shares in Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST) and Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,315 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 94.48 US cents.