Midday: Aus shares gain 0.5%

Market Reports

Lifted with a positive lead from European markets the Australian share market has gained 0.5 per cent at noon. Stronger commodity prices overnight have boosted the miners and energy stocks as the sectors continues to absorb production reports today. The financials are also strong and health care is the only sector trading in negative territory.

The S&P/ASX 200 index has gained 18 points and is 4,244. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points higher.

Company news

PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) has met its copper production guidance for the 2011 calendar year and expects production and earnings growth in 2012. The miner produced 59,897 tonnes of copper in concentrate at its Phu Kham operation last year and is forecasting up to 65,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate this year. PanAust says its annual unaudited earnings came in at about $271 million last year and earnings are expected to grow up to $380 million this year. Shares in PanAust have slipped 3.22 per cent, trading at $3.61.

Milton Corporation Limited (ASX:MLT) has increased its half year net profit by 19 per cent and dividend by 2.7 per cent. The listed investment company has posted a net profit of $54.6 million and declared a fully franked interim dividend of 38 cents per share. Milton says the main driver of the result was the increased ordinary investment income from its $1.8 billion long term investment portfolio. Shares in Milton Corporation have firmed 0.54 per cent, trading at $14.78.

Best and worst performers

Most sectors are trading higher: The best performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts gaining 10 points to 816. Shares in CFS Retail Property Trust (ASX:CFX) have lifted 2.72 per cent and trading at $1.70. Shares in Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) and are Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) are also higher.

The worst performing sector is Health Care, losing 22 points to 7,870. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP) are 2.44 per cent lower, trading at $0.60. Shares in Biota Holdings Limited (ASX:BTA) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) have also lost value.

To New Zealand

The NZSX50 is 9 points lower: Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Westpac is at the top of the list with stock up 0.56 per cent to $26.75, followed by Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, Fletcher Building and AMP.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,679 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0531.