Claiming back 6,000 points: Aus shares 0.2% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is having a stellar day of trade, with the ASX 200 trading above the 6,000 point milestone after most of the sectors have chimed higher in the first two hours of trade.

Despite mixed US leads from Wall Street, the local bourse spiked at the open and has maintained momentum with Real Estate fund, Investa Office Fund (ASX:IOF) rising about 3.4 per cent leading Reits higher.

While solid gains in Nanosonics shares (ASX:NAN) of 2.3 per cent are leading the healthcare space higher.

Shares in Consumer Staples and Discretionary players like Capilano Honey (ASX:CZZ) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW) are on the rise too, while embattled law firm Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) shares have risen over 23 per cent after it reported its creditors’ schemes were approved and passed. At the same time it also announced a claimant meeting had been adjourned.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 11 points up or 0.2 per cent higher at 6,000 when the clock struck 12.

On the futures market the SPI is 19 points higher.

More company news 

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) shares have fallen about 1.7 per cent today after the mining giant announced a raft of plans to improve its Australian operations, such as dropping its unit costs by a further 10 per cent over the medium term. It also aims to deliver US$1.6 billion of additional productivity gains over the next two years. BHP says as it moves into the southern area of its multi-mineral Olympic Dam in South Australia, its copper grades should rise to 3 per cent by FY23, offsetting the deficit in the copper market. BHP shares are trading at $27.47.

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has reaffirmed its FY18 EBITDA will be in the range of $1.7 to $1.8 billion while its net debt will reduce to below $7 billion. It also informed investors at its briefing it's focused on being a part of Australia's energy solution and rising its output. Origin Energy shares are trading 3.1 per cent higher at $8.86.

Qantas (ASX:QAN) is nearing completion of its $373 million buy-back, with the remaining amount to be paid reaching $67.7 million. Qantas shares are trading 0.7 per cent higher at $5.64.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Reits, gaining 1.2 per cent to 1,419. Shares in National Storage Reit (ASX:NSR) have risen 3.5 per cent and trading at $1.62. Shares in Dexus (ASX:DXS) and Stockland (ASX:SGP)are also stronger.

The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 1.4 per cent to 1,228. Shares in Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) have fallen 1.7 per cent, trading at $3.40. Shares in Chorus (ASX:CNU) and Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) are also lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,295 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 76.07 US cents.