Midday: Commodity prices boost miners & ASX

Market Reports

Recouping some this week’s steep losses the Australian share market has opened higher. Rebounding from yesterday’s six-week low stocks have been given a boost by stronger commodity prices and a positive lead from Wall Street. 
 
After a week of speculation surrounding the duration of US stimulus, weaker than expected economic figures in America overnight pushed investors back into the market on hopes the US Federal Reserve will maintain its bond buying program.
 
At home the miners have climbed to the top of the best performers – with the gold miners gaining after the price of the precious metal rose back above $US1,400 per ounce overnight.

Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has lifted 11 points and is sitting at 4,942. On the futures market the SPI is 7 points higher. 
 
Economic news

Ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's board meeting next week Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) has tipped rates will remain on hold. Following a 25 basis point cut earlier this month Westpac says rates are likely to stay at a record low of 2.75 per cent until August when the bank expects another 25 basis point cut and again in late 2013 and early 2014.
 
Company news

Shares in Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) have lifted after the property developer’s consortium reached a financial close with the Victorian State Government to enter into a $630 million Public Private partnership to construct the Bendigo Hospital.  
 
Shares in ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) have risen after the operator of the Australian Securities Exchange inked a deal to buy d-cyphaTrade Limited for $55 million in order to strengthen its position in the electricity futures and options markets. 
 
Shares in Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) have gained after the nickel miner boosted its full year guidance and upgraded both nickel in concentrate production and nickel sales for fiscal 2013. 
 
Shares in Centaurus Metals Limited (ASX:CTM) have jumped after the iron ore explorer announced a maiden JORC resource estimate for Canavial Project, a satellite deposit located nearby its flagship Jambreiro Project in Brazil. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials gaining 133 points to 9,474. Shares in Maverick Drilling and Exploration Limited (ASX:MAD) have risen 5.13 per cent and trading at $0.41. Shares in Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) and Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is telco services, falling 18 points to 1,625. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) have fallen 1.29 per cent, trading at $3.07. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) and TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) are also lower. 

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,420 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 96.76 US cents.