Midday: Aus shares follow Wall St higher

Market Reports

With more gains on Wall Street the local market surged on open and was up 1.4 per cent at midday. 
 
The S&P 500 posted its strongest two days of gains in three years as confidence continues to flow from the Federal Reserve’s comments indicating they’d be patient on any interest rate increase. 
 
The materials sector led the way today while energy stocks continued to push higher after previous heavy selling in line with the oil price rout. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 73 points up at 5,284. On the futures market the SPI is 78 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Cover-More Group Limited (ASX:CVO) are up more than 10 per cent on news of a partnership with Insurance Australia Group in New Zealand. The travel insurance provider says it will provide specialised travel insurance services for IAG brands. CEO Bruce Morrison says the partnership with IAG establishes Cover-More as the predominant travel insurer and assistance provider in New Zealand. Shares in Cover-More are trading up 10.71 per cent at $2.02. 
 
Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) has appointed Dr David Klinger as the new independent non-executive chairmen. The company says Robert Hosking, the founding executive chairman, will take the role of managing director from today. Dr Klinger worked for Rio Tinto for 38 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Melbourne. Shares in Karoon Gas are trading down 1.5 per cent at $2.29. 
 
Best and worst performers

All major sectors are up today. The best performing sector is materials, gaining 2.1 per cent to 8,498. Shares in Sandfire Resources NL (ASX:SFR) have risen 7.13 per cent and trading at $4.66. Shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) are also stronger. 

The sector will the least gains is telco services, gaining 0.26 per cent to 2,037. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) have fallen 1.64 per cent, trading at $3.59. Shares in Spark New Zealand Limited (ASX:SPK) have fallen and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) is a touch higher. 
 
IPO 

Catapult Group International Limited (ASX:CAT) started trading today. The sportswear technology developer floated with an issue price of $0.55, opened at $0.585 and is currently trading at $0.60.    
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,197 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8166.