BHP Billiton leads the index: Aus shares 0.24% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened higher following positive leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 0.24 per cent higher at noon. The materials sector is leading the way and the telcos sector trailing behind. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) is leading the index after it was reported that British multinational oil and gas company BP was a front runner to buy BHP’s onshore oil and gas operations in the US after submitting a bid of over $13 and a half billion, according to sources at Reuters. Other major oil and gas companies who have allegedly placed bids include Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. BHP first announced that it was selling its oil and gas businesses last year following pressure from shareholders to declining profits Iron ore price rose 1.1 per cent to US$63.84 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.4 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 15 points up at 6288 up 0.24 per cent at noon. On the futures market the SPI is up 16 points

Company news

carsales.com (ASX:CAR) today announced that Kee Wong has been appointed to its Board of Directors as a Non-executive Director effective from today. Mr Wong is an entrepreneur with a background and qualifications in engineering, information technology and business. He brings the number of carsales directors to seven. Shares in carsales.com (ASX:CAR) are trading up just over 1 per cent at $14.66.

The Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) Board of announced that Mr Jon Brett and Mrs Rhoda Phillippo, both Non-Executive directors, will retire from the Board with effect from August. Mr Brett has been a long serving member of the Vocus Board. He founded the First Wine Fund in August 1998, and continued to serve as a non-executive director of the company after it acquired Vocus in 2010, and re-listed on the ASX as Vocus Communications. Shares in Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) are trading up 2,52 per cent at $2.44.

Byron Energy (ASX:BYE) is pleased to announce that all partners have now formally elected to participate in the drilling of the initial test well in the Bivouac Peak Prospect Area. The initial test well is expected to commence in the second half of August. Byron has recently proposed and, Otto Energy (ASX:OEL) Metgasco (ASX:MEL) and NOLA Oil and Gas Ventures have all elected to participate in the Weiss-Adler et. al. No. 1 well to be drilled to a depth of 18,000 ft to test. Shares in (ASX:BYE) are trading flat at 29 cents

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials adding 1.1 per cent to 12249 points while the worst performing sector is telcos shedding 0.6 per cent to 1037 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API), rising 4.4 per cent to $1.54, followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), dropping 3.1 per cent to $5.71, followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Company Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1259 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.60 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower. Bitcoin has fallen almost 1 per cent to US$6767, Ethereum fallen about 1.5 per cent to US$485 and EOS has fallen about 5.2 per cent to US$8.57