Midday: Aussie stocks higher

Market Reports

Aussie stocks are trading higher at midday although investors are showing caution ahead of the federal government’s budget to be handed down by Treasurer Wayne Swan tonight.

While global markets rallied overnight on news of the EU’s $1 trillion rescue plan, the Australian share market had already factored in the bailout news into trade on Monday.

The S&P/ASX200 index is 21 points higher at 4,621 and on the futures market, the SPI200’s up 15.

In company news: Following a capital structure review, Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund (ASX:TSI) is to undertake a capital raising, sell its Mt Millar Wind Farm and extend its corporate debt maturity. The fund says it plans to raise $110 million through an equity raising and sell the Mt Millar Wind Farm for $191 million. The company’s corporate debt maturity is to be extended to May, 2015. CEO Steve McDonald says the initiatives are expected to provide the fund with a solid financial platform from which it can deliver attractive and sustainable distributions to security-holders, while further developing the fund’s high quality asset portfolio. Shares in Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund are in a trading halt and last traded at $0.90.

Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX:IAG) has warned shareholders they may receive unsolicited offers for their shares that significantly undervalue them. IAG says a company called Hassle Free Share Sales has been contacting shareholders to make an unsolicited offer for those shares at a value which is significantly lower than the price they are currently trading on the ASX. In addition the company says, Direct Share Purchasing has requested certain information from IAG’s register and may be preparing to launch another unsolicited offer for IAG shares. IAG says it does not endorse any unsolicited share offer and urges shareholders to ignore the offers being made. Shares in IAG are steady at $3.75.

Turning now to indices: The best performing sector at midday is the Industrials index, up 42 points at 3,737. Shares in Hastie Group are up 5.26% at $1.60. Shares in Qantas and Downer EDI are also higher at noon.

The worst performing sector is the Materials index, down 48 points to 11,801. Shares in Macarthur Coal have lost 2.62% to $13.03, while shares in Incitec Pivot and Nufarm are also lower.

Looking to New Zealand and the NZSX50 is up 18 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Topping the list is PGG Wrightson with stock rising 3.77% to $0.55 followed by; Telecom of New Zealand, Fletcher Building and Westpac.

To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at US$1,203.40 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 90.26 US cents.