The Australian share market is higher at midday following a strong lead from Wall Street overnight. Leading the gains are the banks including the big four, NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.
The S&P/ASX200 index is up 94 points at 4,349 points and on the futures market, the SPI200’s up 82.
In economic news today: The ABS has released labor force data showing that the unemployment rate hit 5.1% in June, the lowest since January 2009.
In company news: According to a report in the Age, Regional Express Holdings Ltd (ASX:REX) has accused Sydney Airport of forcing it out of operations by an increase in fees. Rex has estimated the Airport’s rise in aeronautical chargers will cost an extra $130,000 a year. The report says Rex believes Sydney Airport to have installed astronomical financial increases. Its parking charges alone increasing from $700,000 a year to an estimated $3.7 million. Regional Express shares last traded at just over one dollar.
Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) has released a statement in response to market speculation on the sale of a Sydney office building. Abacas advises the potential purchaser is undertaking due diligence that may result in a purchase. At this stage the transaction is incomplete and subject to a number of conditions. Abacus Property shares are up 1.3% to $0.39.
Turning now to market indices: All sectors are in the black at midday. At the top Financials Excluding Real Estate Investment Trust index, is up 148 points to 4,883. Shares in ANZ Banking are 4.15% higher at $22.11. Shares in Macquarie Group and Commonwealth are also higher at noon.And the sector with the smallest gain is the Health Care index, up 85 points to 8,098. Shares in Sirtex Medical dropped 3.65% to $5.01. Shares in Acrux and Ansell are also lower at noon.
Looking to New Zealand and the NZSX50 is up 27 points.
Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Telstra Corporation Ltd heads the list with stock up 1.03% at $3.94 followed by; Telecom of New Zealand, Auckland International Airport and Westpac Banking.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at US$1,206.10 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 87.37 US cents.