Midday: Aus shares track 1.29% higher at noon

Market Reports

Following strong leads from US markets, the Australian share market opened in positive territory and is currently tracking 1.29 per cent higher at noon. The US Federal Reserve settled the nerves of investors when it decided to keep interest rates on hold, and indicated there would be fewer rate hikes in the future. Taking a look at our local market, it is a sea of green across the screen today with the financials, materials and energy sectors providing the biggest support. BHP and Rio Tinto have both added more than 3.5 per cent and energy stocks like Santos and Oil Search have gained almost 5 per cent, on the back of a jump in the oil price overnight. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 66 points higher at 5,185. On the futures market the SPI is up 36 points. 
 
Company news

Biotron Limited (ASX:BIT) has confirmed positive outcomes from its Phase 2 study of its Hepatitis C treatment drug BIT225. The company says patients treated with the drug were more likely to clear the virus than when treated with IBN/RBV alone. Shares in Biotron are trading up 53.97 per cent higher at $0.10. 
 
Qube Holdings Limited (ASX:QUB) has announced the successful completion of institutional component of its 1 for 4.4 accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer. The institutional component raised about $250 million at $2.05 per share. The retail component of the entitlement offer will raise a further $244 million. Shares in Qube Holdings are trading up 3.64 per cent at $2.29. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 3.22 per cent to 7,960. Shares in Worley Parsons have risen 6.98 per cent and trading at $5.67. Shares in AWE and Beach Energy are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 0.24 per cent to 1,931. Shares in Spark NZ have fallen 2.08 per cent, trading at $3.06. Shares in Telstra are lower and TPG are higher. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,261 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7581.