Midday: ASX spikes 1% as Woolies gains

Market Reports

Positive offshore leads have supported the Australian share market to lift 1 per cent at noon. Financial stocks are leading the gains while the only sector defying upwards momentum is health care. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) have risen more than 2 per cent after revealing its CEO’s planned exit, 1200 job cuts and more disappointing sales. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has rallied 56 points to 5,592. On the futures market the SPI is 66 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
Newly merged Federation Centres Limited (ASX:FDC) and Novion Property Group (ASX:NVN) are set to be known as Vicinity Limited. The name is expected to be introduced following approval of shareholders at the company’s AGM in October. Chairman Peter Hay says ‘Vicinity’ by definition is a ‘place’ name and a key destination to bring people together as the company’s centres hope to also. Shares in Federation Centres have risen 1.53 per cent and are trading at $2.98 at noon.
 
Shares in Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) have fallen after revealing slower than expected production ramp up at its Olaroz Lithium Facility. The minerals and chemicals group has blamed equipment limitations and early operation issues for the delays. Managing Director Richard Seville says while the company is disappointed with the delays it is heartened by the recent progress and strengthening market dynamics. Shares in Orocobre have fallen 2.49 per cent to $2.35 at noon. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is financials excluding REITs, gaining 1.7 per cent to 7,461. Shares in Challenger Limited (ASX:CGF) have risen 3.28 per cent and trading at $6.93. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) are also stronger. 
 
The only sector trading in the red is health care, falling 0.2 per cent to 18,170. Shares in CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) have eased 1.08 per cent, trading at $87.25. Shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) and ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is buying $US1,182 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7731.