Midday: Aus shares track 0.67% higher

Market Reports

Following soft leads from Wall Street, the Australian share market opened slightly higher and before jumping on the weaker than expected consumer price data for the March quarter. Financials are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting along with the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto. We are also witnessing a sea of green across the energy space with gains of about 4 per cent in Senex Energy and Santos. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 35 points up at 5,256. On the futures market the SPI is 41 points higher. 

Economic news
 
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.2 per cent in the March quarter 2016 according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). well below expectations of a 0.2 rise. The fall in the CPI this quarter was broad based, with six out of the eleven CPI groups recording a fall for the quarter led by transport and automotive fuel. 
 
This follows a rise of 0.4 per cent in the December quarter 2015.

Company news

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has initiated a US$577 million repayment of debt today by issuing a voluntary redemption notice to holders of the 8.25 per cent Senior Unsecured Notes due in 2019. Fortescue CEO Nev Power says this debt repayment delivers on the company’s sustained commitment to reduce all-in costs and reduce its debt. Shares in Fortescue are trading up 3.49 per cent at $3.26 
 
Pro Medicus Limited (ASX:PME) has announced its wholly owned US subsidiary Visage Imaging has signed a $7 million, 7 year contract with the largest health system in the US state of Louisiana. The contract will see the company’s Visage 7 technology be used in five acute care and specialty hospitals. Shares in Pro Medicus are trading up 2.02 per cent at $4.04. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 1.2 per cent to 8,071. Shares in SBM have risen 4.65 per cent and trading at $2.25. Shares in Independence Group and Syrah Resources are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 0.3 per cent to 1,988. Shares in Vocus have fallen 0.29 per cent, trading at $8.63. Shares in TPG Telecom and Telstra are also lower. 
 
IPOs

Volpara Health Technologies Limited (ASX:VHT) started trading today. The breat cancer screening technology company floated with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.50 and is currently trading at $0.53.    

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,245 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7667