Midday: M&A action boosts ASX 0.9%

Market Reports

Despite soft leads the Australian share market has jumped 0.9 per cent into the new week on the back of local merger and acquisition (M&A) action. 
 
Skilled Group (ASX:SKE) has gained more than 10 per cent after the staffing services company said it is reconsidering a possible merger with Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX:PRG)
 
Shares in Sirius Resources (ASX:SIR) have spiked more than 20 per cent after the mineral explorer inked a takeover deal with Independence Group (ASX:IGO).  
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is trading 49 points stronger at 5,714. On the futures market the SPI is 42 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
Sunland Group Limited (ASX:SDG) has bought its third site in Brisbane for $11.1 million. The property developer says its latest asset has been earmarked for a boutique luxury housing development. The development is expected to have 28 residences with an estimated end value of more than $45 million. Shares in Sunland Group last traded at $1.82. 
 
8I Holdings Limited (ASX:8IH) has sold down its interest in CPA Academy Limited for about $9.6 million. The Singaporean investment company has also completed due diligence for the proposed Velocity Holdings acquisition. 8I Holdings has advised it expects to tie up the deal in the next week. Shares in 8I Holdings are trading 5.26 per cent lower at $0.90. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
All sectors are trading higher: The best performing sector is energy, gaining 1.5 per cent to 11,772. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) have risen 2.66 per cent and trading at $8.30. Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) are also stronger. 
 
The sector with the smallest gains is real estate investment trusts, adding 0.1 per cent to 1,293. Shares in Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) have fallen 1.57 per cent, trading at $4.38. Shares in Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC) and SCA Property Group (ASX:SCP) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is buying $US1,205 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7816.

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