Midday: Aus shares shake off US blues

Market Reports


The Australian stockmarket has thrown off negative leads from US markets jittery at the prospect of higher interest rates after reports of strong homes sales in the US. The market is eying the elusive 6000 market, up 0.2 per cent in morning trade. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 12 points stronger at 5,981. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
3P Learning Limited (ASX:3PL) has acquired a 17 per cent stake in a leading graphic calculator business in the US. The online learning company paid US$5million for the stake in Desmos which delivers interactive maths activities and the in-browser calculator. 3P Learning will now use Desmos tools globally. The investment is being funded from existing cash. Shares in 3P Learning are 3.04 per cent up to $2.37. 
 
Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) has nominated two of its directors for appointment to the board of Macquarie Radio Network. Fairfax has put forward Greg Hywood and James Millar pending the merger of MRN and Fairfax Radio Network. On the completion of the merger MRN will own 100 per cent of Fairfax Radio and Fairfax Media will end with a 54.5 per cent stake of MRN. The new look MRN board would see Jack Singleton and Russell Tate joined by Mr Hywood and Mr Millar, with the search for an Independent Director now underway. Shares in Fairfax are trading up 0.26 per cent at $0.96. 
 
Best and worse performers

The best performing sector is consumer discretionary, gaining 0.5 per cent to 1,978. Shares in Myer have risen 3.14 per cent and trading at $1.40. Shares in Aristocrat and Southern Cross are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is real estate investment trusts, falling 0.2 per cent to 1,333. Shares in Goodman Group have fallen 0.87 per cent, trading at $6.26. Shares in Westfield Group and Charter Hall are also lower. 
 

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,192 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 78.66 US cents.