Following an exciting day on US markets on Friday, where the Dow came within a whisker of the 20,000 level, the Australian share market has followed suit opening higher and tracking up 0.65 per cent at noon. The financials space, namely the big four banks are continuing on their upwards ascent, with the likes of National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) gaining around 0.7 per cent in the first hour of trade. Not such a good start however for the materials space, with the big miners BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) falling into the red, losing around 0.7 and 1.8 per cent respectively.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 37 points up at 5,792. On the futures market the SPI is 29 points higher.
Dwelling approvals in Australia have fallen 2.9 per cent in trend terms in November 2016, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Northern Territory fell the most with a decrease of 5 per cent, followed by New South Wales and Queensland. The value of residential building fell further than non-residential building.
Michael Hill International Limited (ASX:MHJ) says it continues to grow its store sales with an increase of 5.7 per cent for the 6 months to 31 December 2016 for total store sales, and 1 per cent for same store sales. The jewellery retailer has cited choppy macro conditions and higher than usual competitor discounting in Australia and Canada as a factor contributing to these results. Shares in Michael Hill are trading up 0.4 per cent at $1.26.
Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX:CCE) will embark on a $5 million capital raising to fast track its project pipeline. The raising will be in the form of an issue of 8 cent per share convertible notes which will be used to refinance an existing $500,000 working capital bank facility. The 8 cent conversion price is at a 47 per cent premium to the 20 day average VWAP. Shares in Carnegie Clean Energy are trading down 6.33 per cent at $0.07.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Healthcare, gaining 1.53 per cent to 20,418. Shares in Healthscope (ASX:HSO) have risen 2.95 per cent and trading at $2.44. Shares in Cochlear (ASX:COH) and Sigma Pharmaceuticals (ASX:SIP) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 0.43 per cent to 9,864. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) have fallen 3.21 per cent, trading at $5.88. Shares in Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,174 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.7312.