Midday: Shares stronger as US records Q3 growth

Market Reports

The Australian share market is trading stronger at midday with all the major banks and miners in the black. Stocks opened higher this morning after receiving positive leads from Wall Street overnight, which was boosted by a stronger-than-expected third quarter GDP data. The S&P 500 has risen to its highest level today since the collapse of Lehman Brothers as investors continue to remain optimistic over global economic growth.

The S&P/ASX200 index has lifted 14 points and is 4,792 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher.

Company news: Telstra Ltd (ASX:TLS) says it will write down $138 million in the first half ended December 2010 after a review of its China-based mobile content and services business, Octave. Telstra bought a 67 per cent stake in Octave early last year for $259 million. The telco giant says it first highlighted a potential impact on the Octave business in August this year after regulatory rulings constrained the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) market in China. Telstra says the write-down will not affect its earning guidance. Previously, the company stated it expects first half result to show a low double digit decline in earnings before interest, tax and depreciation. Shares in Telstra are up 0.36 per cent at $2.78.

White Energy Corporation Ltd (ASX:WEC) is set to go ahead with a $500 million acquisition of Cascade Coal Pty Ltd. White Energy says the acquisition of Cascade will enable the firm to own high quality thermal coal assets, as well as significant reserves and good accessibility to transport infrastructure located in the coal fields of New South Wales. The deal remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The proposed acquisition is expected to be finalised by January 31, a little before before White Energy shareholders vote on the transaction, which is likely to be in March. Shares in White Energy are 1.47 per cent lower at $3.35.

Turning to market indices, and most are in positive territory. The best performing sector is Consumer Staples with the index advancing 52 points to 7,765. Shares in Metcash Ltd have risen 1.35 per cent to $0.375. Shares in Goodman Group and Woolworths and have also gained at noon. The worst performing sector at midday is Real Estate Investment Trust, dropping 9 points to 842. Shares in Ardent Leisure Group have fallen 6.07 per cent and are just over $1. Shares in CFS Retail Property Trust and ING Industrial Fund have also dropped at midday.

New Zealand: The NZSX50 is down 3 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock steady $2.24; followed Fletcher Building, Westpac and ANZ.

Gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,387 US an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying 99.92 US cents; slightly lower after it jumped through parity against the Greenback this morning for the fourth time this year.