Midday: ASX slightly up on telco gains

Market Reports

With minimal offshore leads to take heed from owing to holidays in the US and UK, the Australian share market opened flat and after an early telco driven charge into positive territory, is hovering 0.3 per cent higher at midday.  
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 13 points up at 4,973. On the futures market the SPI is 20 points higher. 
 
Company news 
 
Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Limited’s (ASX:SOL) resource arm New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX:NHC) has responded to the downturn in the coal market by further cutting output at its West Moreton operations in Queensland. Output has been reduced from 1.1 million tonnes to 700 thousand tonnes annually following a shift from a six day to a five day per week operation. Shares in Soul Pattinson are trading up 1.17 per cent at $14.67.
 
Flight Centre Limited (ASX:FLT) CFO Andrew Flannery has confirmed the travel retailers pre tax earnings guidance of between $325 and $340 million for the current financial year. Mr Flannery says cheap airfares have been a significant driver of outbound travel, and believes the widely held view of a negative impact by the Australian dollar on people’s travel patterns is over estimated. Shares in Flight Centre are trading up 2.38 per cent at $38.23. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Telco services gaining 15 points to 1,702. Shares in iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) have risen 3.72 per cent and trading at $5.85. Shares in TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) and Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Consumer staples, falling 63 points to 9,801. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) have fallen 1.45 per cent, trading at $32.63. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) and Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,390 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.9626.