Midday: ASX up on stimulus hopes

Market Reports

The Australian share market is more than half a per cent higher at noon, boosted by the hope of more Federal Reserve stimulus measures that saw US stocks lift overnight. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 26 points higher at 4,149. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points stronger.

Economic news

ABS data shows the seasonally adjusted estimate for the total number of dwelling units commenced fell 12.6% in the March quarter following a fall of 4.5% in the December quarter.
 
Company news

News Corporation (ASX:NWS) confirms it's put a conditional proposal to Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (ASX:CMJ) which, if implemented would result in News acquiring 100 per cent of Consolidated Media at a cost of almost $2 billion, according to the statement. News says it would double its stakes in Fox Sports Australia and Foxtel. The proposal is subject to a number of conditions and there isn’t any certainty that it will go ahead. News Corp shares are trading 0.1 per cent lower at $20.02.
 
Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) has advised the market that the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee relating to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant was debated in the Malaysian Parliament yesterday. According to Lynas, the report recommends the temporary operating licence be issued. Lynas shares are trading 2.96 per cent higher at $1.04.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Financials Excluding Real Estate Investment Trusts gaining 59 points to 4,688. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) have risen 2.12 per cent and are trading at $21.24. Shares in National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and AMP Limited (ASX:AMP) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Telco Services, losing 6 points to 1,242. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) have fallen 2.89 per cent, trading at $1.93. Shares in M2 Telecommunications Group Limited (ASX:MTU) are lower and Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) shares are flat. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,620 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.018.

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