Midday: ASX enjoys strong start

Market Reports

The Australian share market heeded Wall Streets ongoing record run to open the week stronger and is 1.03 per cent up- and climbing- at noon, with all the major sectors bar telco services trading strongly. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 53 points up at 5,234. On the futures market the SPI is 48 points higher. 
 
Economic news 
 
Australian business prospects are looking good, according to the Commonwealth Bank's Business Sales Indicator (BSI). Spending across the economy rose for the eighth consecutive month, lifting by 0.5 per cent in April. 
 
Company news
 
Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) has offloaded 3 dry land farming and grazing properties in Central Queensland for $23 million. The properties will be purchased by Comet Downs Cattle Company, forming part of AACO’s bid to refocus assets and capital to Northern Australia as a means of increasing supply to Asia. Shares in AACO are trading down 2.67 per cent at $1.09. 
 
SKYCITY Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC) has acquired the Wharf casino in Queenstown New Zealand for $5 million. The purchase will add 74 electronic gaming machines and 6 gaming tables to Skycity’s existing operations in Queenstown, part of a strategy to increase its presence in the popular tourist region. Shares in SkyCity are trading up 1.66 per cent at $3.68. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Utilities gaining 79 points to 5,779. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) have risen 13.25 per cent and trading at $0.47. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) and DUET Group (ASX:DUE) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Telco services, the only major sector in the red at this stage, falling 2 points to 1,751. Shares in Telecom Corp of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) have fallen 1.46 per cent, trading at $2.02. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) are lower while Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) are slightly up at midday. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,347 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.9757. 

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