Midday: Aus shares follow US higher

Market Reports

Following strong leads, the Australian share market opened higher and is 0.25 per cent up at noon, Wall Street booked gains on the back of some positive earnings results.
 
The Aussie miners were the best performers this morning despite a further slip in the iron ore price overnight.
 
Markets now await an announcement from the US Federal Reserve that is tipped to signal the end of the country’s quantitative easing program.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 16 points up at 5,469. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher.
 
Company news
 
Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) has indicated it’s on track to meet its forward guidance production figures. However the oil and gas producer concedes its oil and gas production slipped slightly in the first quarter on the back of weakening oil prices. The company says it is still confident it will meet its guidance of 3 to 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent in the 2015 financial year. Shares in Drillsearch are trading up 1.93 per cent at $1.19.
 
Shares in Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD) have jumped on the news its first quarter revenue is up more than 10 per cent. The theme park and entertainment facility operator says an increase in Main Event earnings from the US helped drive the growth with group revenue reaching $139.1 million in the quarter. The company also announced completion of the acquisition of Fitness First Western Australia. Shares in Ardent Leisure are trading up 1.03 per cent at $3.45.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials, gaining 1.6 per cent to 9,262. Shares in Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) have risen 5.67 per cent and trading at $4.29. Shares in Sirius Resources N.L.(ASX:SIR) and Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is financials, falling 0.5 per cent to 6,209. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) have fallen 1.23 per cent, trading at $34.46. Shares in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,229 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8862.