Midday: Aus shares gain at noon

Market Reports

Following soft leads, the Australian share market opened lower and is 0.6 per cent up at noon.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 18 points up at 4,320. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher.

Economic news

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its biannual financial stability report and says global market sentiments had noticeably improved since December last year but warned the global economy still faced risks.

Company news

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) has successfully completed one aspect of its $450 million equity raising.The BOQ says institutional investors had taken up to $150 million of new shares and around $134 million through an entitlement offer. Shares in Bank of Queensland are trading up 5.54 per cent at $7.47.

Austar United Communications Limited (ASX:AUN)  says the $2 billion takeover bid by Foxtel will be put to shareholders on 30 March, despite The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suspending its timeline for reaching a decision on the acquisition. Shares in Austar are trading down 1.69 per cent at $1.455. 

Last month, Austar postponed a shareholders meeting in order for the ACCC to finalise its review.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Telco Services gaining 10 points to 1,122. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) have risen 0.93 per cent and trading at $3.26. Shares in Amcom Telecommunications  and SingTel are also stronger.

The worst performing sector is Utilities, falling 8 points to 4,827. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) have fallen 1.85 per cent, trading at $0.795. Shares in Challenger Infrastructure Fund and Envestra are also lower.

New Zealand

The NZSX50 is 11 points down at noon. Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand. is at the top of the list with stock down 1.21 per cent at $2.44, followed by Fletcher Building, Westpac and Trade Me Group.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,681 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.0436.