Midday: Aus shares track 0.95% higher at noon

Market Reports

Following strong leads from Wall Street on Friday, the local share market opened well into positive territory and is tracking 0.95 per cent higher at noon. The big banks are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting this morning, but there has also been a jump in the materials space with gains in the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto. Gold stocks are also enjoying their moment in the sun after the price of the precious metal jumped more than $20 overnight.                             
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 50 points higher at 5,201. On the futures market the SPI is 53 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) has signed a heads of agreement with NSW Ports to operate the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre in Western Sydney and lease the land at the site. The Heads of Agreement is non-binding at this stage but the parties expect a binding lease and terminal operator agreement to be signed in the first quarter of 2016. Shares in Aurizon are trading up 1.12 per cent at $5.42. 
 
Benitec Biopharma Limited (ASX:BLT) says its Hepatitis B therapeutic has shown positive clinical results. Latest clinical data suggests its BB-HB-331 therapeutic can suppress multiple aspects of the Hepatitis B virus in infected human liver cells. Shares in Benitec Biopharma are trading up 14.52 per cent at $0.35. 
  
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is Consumer Discretionaries, gaining 1.6 per cent to 1,915. Shares in Village Roadshow have risen 3.46 per cent and trading at $6.87. Shares in REA Group and Pacific Brands are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 2.3 per cent to 8,304. Shares in Santos have fallen 6.15 per cent, trading at $3.97. Shares in Drillsearch and Beach Energy are also lower. 
 
IPOs
 
Updater Inc (ASX:UPD) started trading today. The information technology company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.36 and is currently trading at $0.34.    
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,084 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 73.35 US cents.