Edging higher: Aus shares 0.48% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

After the Dow Jones posted its 12th straight record close, the Australian share market pushed higher in the black at the open and is now 0.48 per cent up just after 12pm. The energy space is proving to be the strongest performer, flexing its muscle thanks to US oil inventories reaching record levels. Meantime, Consumer Staples are proving to be the only drag of the local bourse, with the sector falling about 0.1% at midday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 28 points up at 5,752. On the futures market the SPI is 30 points higher.

Economic news

The The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported the Current Account Deficit (CAD) has fallen to $3.9 billion for the December 2016 quarter, following a 12% surge in exports for the period. It is the smallest Current Account Deficit since 2001.

Government taxation revenue has increased 17.6%, while total general government expenses fell 1.8% in the same period both compared to the September quarter.

The ABS also reported general government expenses exceeded revenue by $2,115 million.

Company news

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) has announced its aggregated sales jumped 5.9% for the six months to 31 December 2016, compared to the prior corresponding period. The retailer says its sales hits $3.73 billion for the six months. The sales were bolstered by the strength of the New Zealand dollar, while the devaluation of the Euro, UK Pound and Singapore dollar weighted down the result. Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) shares are currently trading 1.07% higher at $5.17

Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX:MAH) has entered into a trading halt. The Perth-based mining company requested the trading halt pending its announcement about a potential material mining contract and acquisition. Macmahon Holdings requested the shares remain in trading halt until it has either made an announcement about the potential transaction, or until the market open on 2 March 2017. Shares in Macmahon Holdings  previous traded at $0.15.

The best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Engery, gaining 2.14 per cent to 9,012. Shares in WorleyParsons Limited (ASX:WOR) have risen 29.49 per cent and trading at $10.45. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) and Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) are also stronger.

The worst performing sector is Consumers Staples, falling 0.15 per cent to 9,243. Shares in Asaleo Care Limited (ASX:AHY) have fallen 4.77 per cent, trading at $1.65. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) and Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA) are also lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,253 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7681.