Midday: Aus shares higher

Market Reports

A positive lead from Wall St overnight has given the local market some momentum today, Aussie stocks in the black at midday. Investors encouraged at news the US Federal Reserve could act swiftly to lift the US economy. However the impact of a strong Aussie dollar is limiting gains.

The S&P/ASX200 index is up 10 points at 4,628 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 6.

In economic news: The Westpac Bank/Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment rose 3.3% in October to a read of 117 compared to a drop the month before.

To company news: Blood products maker CSL Ltd (ASX:CSL) says if the Aussie dollar remains at October levels it’s profit forecast for the 2011 financial year will drop. The company says it anticipates earnings of between $980 million and $1.03 billion in fiscal 2011 at 2009/2010 exchange rates. However, CSL says if currency rates on October 8 were to apply for the balance of the financial year, net profit guidance would drop to between $880 million to $940 million. Shares in CSL are 0.03% weaker at $32.19.

Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund (ASX:TSI) says fiscal 2011 net profit is expected to be at least 25 per cent higher than its forecast back in May after improving its cash position by $25 million. The improvement follows an extension and refinancing of the Macarthur Water Filtration Plant and an ownership restructure of partner United Utilities Australia. Shares in Transfield Infrastructure Fund are steady at $0.66.

Turning now to market indices: The best performing sector is Industrials with the index up 30 points to 3,761. Shares in Boart Longyear are up 2.69% to $3.44. While shares in Transurban Group and Cabcharge Australia are also higher at noon.

The worst performing sector at midday is Energy, with the index down 38 points to 15,125. Shares in Energy Resources of Australia have dropped 5.46% to $13.67. Shares in Santos and Woodside Petroleum are also lower at noon.

To New Zealand now, the NZSX50 is up 13 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Heading the list is Telecom of New Zealand with stock up 0.99% at $2.04 followed by; Westpac, Fletcher Building and ANZ.

To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $1354 US an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 98.72 US cents.