Despite expectations of a flat open following limited gains from European markets, the local sharemarket bucked forecasts opening higher and is 0.69 percent up at noon. Investors enjoyed an early rally following a surge in energy shares. Banks and miners are also trading higher at this midway point in the trading day.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 41 points up at 5,071. On the futures market the SPI is 33 points higher.
The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index slumped to a 14-month low at 106.7. Analysts at ANZ attributed the fall in household sentiment to weak economic data. Australian businesses also showing renewed concern for the state of the economy as NAB’s latest business index noted its lowest confidence reading since mid-2013, dropping 3 points to 1. Nonetheless business conditions jumped five points to 11, highlighting some optimism
Karoon Gas Limited (ASX:KAR) has received regulatory approval for a revised Appraisal Plan for its Santos Basin blocks in Brazil. The oil and gas firm can now finalise and prepare for the next iteration of the work program during 2016. Karoon Gas owns a 65 percent stake of the Santos Basin blocks, while Pacific Exploration and Production owns the remaining 35 percent. Shares in Karoon Gas are trading up 2.59 per cent at $1.78.
Greencross Limited (ASX:GXL) has announced the appointment of Rebekah Horne as Non Executive Director. As current Chief Digital Officer of Network Ten, the pet services group intends to draw upon Ms Horne’s extensive digital experience. Ms Horne’s appointment brings the level of female representation on the Greencross board to 25 percent. Shares in Greencross Limited are trading up 2.78 per cent at $5.91.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 2.2 per cent to 8,769. Shares in Oil Search have risen 13.37 per cent and trading at $7.63. Shares in Santos and AWE Limited are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, falling 0.1 per cent to 8,249. Shares in Australian Agriculture have fallen 0.78 per cent, trading at $1.27. Shares in Woolworths and Wesfarmers are also lower.
Turning to IPOs and Traditional Therapy Clinics Limited (ASX:TTC) started trading today. The Chinese health clinic owner floated with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.50 and is currently trading at $0.50.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,120 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.6942