The Australian share market opened higher following mixed leads from Wall Street where gains and losses alternated throughout the trading day yesterday. It is now tracking 0.6 per cent higher at noon. The Energy sector is leading the way and the Telco services sector trailing behind. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 32 points up at 5608. On the futures market the SPI is 12 points higher.
Local economic news
The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 0.1 per cent to 104.4 in December from 104.3 in November.
New Zealand's largest e-commerce company Trade Me (ASX:TME) has entered into a scheme of arrangement with British private equity firm Apax Partners, after a bidding war between Apax and an American rival Hellman & Friedman. The board accepted a $2.4 billion bid from Apax. They agreed to acquire 100 per cent of Trade Me shares for NZ$6.45 per share, which represents a 27 per cent premium on last month's average share prices. Trade Me said that in the absence of a superior proposal, its board had unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the offer. Shares in Trade Me (ASX:TME) 4.6 per cent higher $6.08
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Energy adding 1.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Telco Services, shedding 1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Challenger (ASX:CGF), rising 5.7 per cent to $9.60, followed by shares in Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) and Altium (ASX:ALU).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), dropping 3.6per cent to $0.73, followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,245 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.2 per cent to US$65.97 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.24 US cents.