Midday: ASX surges on central bank stimulus

Market Reports

With Wall Street closed for America’s Independence Day public holiday the Australian share market has taken the lead from Europe and jumped more than 1 per cent in morning trade. Local stocks have been given a boost by hopes the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England will continue to keep rates low and stimulate economic growth. Though commodity prices have pulled back the miners have shot up and the sector is leading gains.

Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has gained 46 points to 4,840. On the futures market the SPI is 56 points stronger. 
 
Economic news

Construction activity in Australian continues to remain weak but improved over last month. The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association’s Performance of Construction Index rose 4.2 points to 39.5 in June, but remained well below 50 which indicates contraction in the sector. 

Company news 
 
Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) have firmed 0.75 per cent on news Australia’s largest telecommunication company has scored a $32 million cyber security deal to protect the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
 
Shares in UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) have gained 2.77 per cent after the engineering company secured a three year $110 million contract to work on the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

Shares in Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) have dipped 1.28 per cent after the mineral explorer said it will stop exploring at its Stockman Project and cut jobs in an effort to curb costs.  
 
Shares in Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS) have risen 3.57 per cent on news the pharmaceutical company has been awarded more than $700,000 in funding for two of its research projects. 
  
Best and worst performers
 
All major sectors are making gains: The best performing sector is materials gaining 130 points to 8,718. Shares in Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) have risen 11.54 per cent and trading at $0.14. Shares in Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) are also stronger. 
 
The sector with the fewest gains is consumer staples, adding 61 points to 9,568. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) have put on 0.4 per cent, trading at $12.61. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) and Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) follow higher. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,246 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 91.39 US cents. 

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