Midday: Aus shares track 1.8% higher at noon

Market Reports

Following a strong lead from Wall Street, the Australian share market opened in positive territory this morning and is currently tracking 1.8 per cent higher at noon. It certainly looks like investors have thrown caution to the wind ahead of the FOMC’s interest rate decision tomorrow morning. In terms of our local market, the big banks and the miners are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, with other blue chips like Telstra also making gains. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 88 points higher at 4,997. On the futures market the SPI is 95 points higher. 
Company news

APA Group Limited (ASX:APA) announced its estimated FY2016 interim distribution of 19 cents per security for the six months ending 31 December 2015. This represents an 8.6 per cent increase over the FY2015 interim distribution per security.  Shares in APA Group are trading 1.57 per cent higher at $8.42. 
Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) has entered into a retention agreement for the next three years with its Executive Chairman Jake Klein. As part of the agreement the company will issue 3.75 million performance rights to Mr Klein. Shares in Evolution Mining are trading 0.72 per cent higher at $1.41. 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is REITs, gaining 2.55 per cent to 1,285. Shares in Mirvac have risen 4.21 per cent and trading at $1.98. Shares in GPT and Goodman Group are also stronger. 
The sector with the least gains is Healthcare, adding 0.03 per cent to 19,062. Shares in Primary Healthcare have fallen 5.81 per cent, trading at $2.43. Shares in Sonic Health and Greencross are also lower. 

Absolute Equity Performance Fund Limited (ASX:AEG) started trading today. The listed investment company floated with an issue price of $1.10, opened at $1.15 and is currently trading at $1.14.    
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,063 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.98 US cents.