Midday: ASX lifts as Telstra & Woodside weigh

Market Reports

Following another record close on Wall Street the Australian share market lifted at open and is slightly higher at noon as more earnings results roll in. Gains are being capped by companies trading ex-dividend today, including Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL)
 
The telco sector has fallen to the worst performer as Telstra’s losses drag while most other major sectors have moved higher. The materials sector has defied another down-turn in the iron ore price and is supporting the broader bourse at noon. 
 
Figures 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has risen 7 points to 5,645. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points higher. 
 
Economic news
 
Construction work done dropped more than double the expected amount over the second quarter. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports total construction work fell 1.2 per cent to $51.93 billion in the June quarter and is now 0.6 per cent lower year-on-year. 
 
Reporting season results 
 
Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) has boosted its annual net and underlying profit on the back of cost cutting initiatives. The manufacturer and supplier of building and construction materials swung to a net profit of $173 million in fiscal 2014 from a loss the year before while underlying profit soared 64 per cent. CEO Mike Kane says the stronger result was aided by an ongoing US housing market recovery, improved Australian housing activity and continued growth from its business in Asia. Boral has hiked its final dividend by 33 per cent to 8 cents per share. Shares in Boral have jumped 4.27 per cent to $5.62 at noon. 
 
Veda Group Limited (ASX:VED) has exceeded its prospectus forecast for net profit, revenue and EBITDA, with all growing over the 2014 financial year. The data analytics company’s net profit increased more than 140 per cent to $22.7 million while revenue rose more than 12 per cent and EBITDA lifted almost 22 per cent. CEO Nerida Caesar has described the period as successful and significant and forecast continued revenue growth across all business lines in the year ahead. Veda has doubled its final dividend from its prospectus forecast to 4 cents per share. Shares in Veda Group have climbed 7.25 per cent to $2.22 at noon. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is materials, gaining 0.6 per cent to 10,189. Shares in Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR) have risen 6.45 per cent and trading at $0.49. Shares in Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) and Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is telco services, falling 3.1 per cent to 1,938. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) are trading ex-dividend and have fallen 3.48 per cent to $5.54. Shares in M2 Group Limited (ASX:MTU) are lower while shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) are steady at noon. 
 
IPOs 
 
8Common Limited (ASX:8CO) started trading today. The software solutions developer floated with an issue price of $0.25, opened at $0.28 and is currently trading at $0.26.    
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,283 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9314.