With mostly positive leads from Wall Street and the oil price advancing ahead, the Australian share market opened higher and is now tracking 0.4 per cent up at noon.
The local bourse continued to gain momentum in the first two hours of trade, with the energy sector putting its pedal to the metal and tracking 1.3% higher.
Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) flexed its muscle and gained 4.7% at one point, while Global Energy Ventures Limited (ASX:GEV), and Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) are trading 2% higher thanks to US crude inventories rising 2.4% overnight. The only weight on the local bourse this session is coming from industrials, with the likes of Mcmillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) losing 4% by midday.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 24 points up at 5,898. On the futures market the SPI is 24 points higher.
Local economic news
The Housing Industry Association announced new home sales edged up in February, by a seasonally adjusted 0.2%, with Western Australia and Victoria seeing the strongest growth. HIA surveyed a large number of builders to get the result. When it came to the breakdown of the sales, home sales dipped 0.1% from the month prior, while apartment sales edged 1% higher.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has announced its issuing HK$680 million subordinated notes. The floating rate notes will be mature in March 2027 under the banks US$70 billion medium term note program. The bank will issue 6,209 notes as part of the issuance. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) shares are currently trading 0.23% higher at $86.34
Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) has entered into a trading halt pending an announcement about the status of its Bazillion oil reserve purchase. The oil and gas exploration company says the halt will remain until it updates the market about the acquisition or until the market open on Monday 3 April 2017. The company is in negotiation with Petrobras to the buy an interest in the Bauna oil project and Tartaruga Verde fields. Shares in Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) last traded at $1.82
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 1.3 per cent to 9,352. Shares in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) have risen 3.82 per cent and trading at $0.82. Shares in WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Industrials, falling 0.2 per cent to 5,336. Shares in Mcmillian Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) have fallen 4.17 per cent, trading at $13.11. Shares in Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) and Qube Holdings (ASX:QUB) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,251 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 76.71 US cents.