Midday: ASX higher & AUD lower

Market Reports

With gains in the US and Europe the local market has clawed back yesterday’s losses to open higher and is 0.7 per cent up at noon.
 
The miners led the way with BHP Billiton up more than 2 per cent.
 
The Aussie dollar has sunk today after jawboning overnight by the RBA governor Glenn Stevens made clear the banks preference for a weaker Aussie dollar. The view was confirmed this morning on release of comments made in the minutes from the RBAs April meeting and the dollar continued its slide south. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 41 points up at 5,874. On the futures market the SPI is 35 points higher. 
 
Economic news

The ABS has shown a 6 per cent rise in International merchandise imports for March.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) are higher with further news of a judgement being entered in a US patent infringement case. The company reported on 1 April that three of four patent infringement claims were ruled to be invalid and the company has since appealed the final infringement claim. The other parties are expected to appeal the judgement in favour of Cochlear. Shares in Cochlear are trading up 1.43 per cent at $88.85. 
 
Pro Medicus Limited (ASX:PME) shares are up as it signs a $9.5 million deal with the University of Florida Health Network. The imaging IT provider says its US subsidiary Visage Imaging will provide its Visage 7 technology to UF Health for the primary diagnosis and clinical distribution of medical images. Shares in Promedicus are trading up 8.61 per cent at $1.64 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials, gaining 1.6 per cent to 9,149. Shares in Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) have risen 7.41 per cent and trading at $4.64. Shares in OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) and Independence Group (ASX:IGO) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 0.1 per cent to 11,599. Shares in Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) have fallen 3.76 per cent, trading at $2.69. Shares in Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,195 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7688