Midday: Aus shares 1.15% higher at noon

Market Reports

Following positive overseas leads, local investors were buoyed by US Fed meeting minutes which suggested that December remains in play for an interest rate hike. The Australian share market opened higher and is 1.15 per cent up at noon. Investors are focussing in on BHP Billiton today in preparation for the miners AGM, taking place in Perth at 1pm eastern time. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 59 points up at 5,192. On the futures market the SPI is 68 points higher. 

Company news
 
James Hardie Limited (ASX:JHX) has warned shareholders it is likely to miss analyst expectations for full-year profit. James Hardie reported a 2 percent lift in net profit to $183.1 million in the three months to 30 September. The building materials company attributed the result to higher tax and income expenses. Shares in James Hardie are trading down 7.17 per cent at $16.57. 
 
Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has appointed Bryce Houghton as chief financial officer. The former Navitas CFO will replace Wayne Brown to begin the new role on 30 November. Shares in Slater & Gordon are trading down 2.84 per cent at $3.08. 

Best and worst performers

All sectors are up. The sector with the most gains is Materials, gaining 1.6 per cent to 7,424. Shares in Evolution Mining have risen 5.06 per cent and trading at $1.25. Shares in Newcrest Mining and Rio Tinto are also stronger. 
 
The sector with the least gains is Utilities, gaining 0.4 per cent to 6,958. Shares in AGL Energy have fallen 0.4 per cent, trading at $16.73. Shares in Spark Infrastructure are flat while DUET Group is higher.

Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,074 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7127