Midday: ASX gains as jobless rate stays put

Market Reports

Shrugging off Wall Street’s poor overnight performance the Australian share market lifted at open and is 0.7 per cent higher at noon. Stocks have found support in today’s data releases – clawing to session highs after Australia’s official jobs report and ahead of Chinese trade data. 
Telstra Corporation Limited’s (ASX:TLS) stock has gained after the telco improved its annual profit by 13 per cent. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) is trading higher in anticipation of the miner’s first half results.

The S&P/ASX 200 index has risen 24 points to 5,035. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher. 
Economic news
Australia’s jobless rate has remained steady in the same month the economy lost more jobs than expected. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports the nation’s unemployment rate came in at 5.7 per cent in July, against expectations for a 0.1 per cent rise. The economy lost 10,200 jobs in July, against expectations for jobs growth.  
Company news
Production growth has seen exploration company Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT) almost triple its first half net profit to $61 million, boosted by a 170 per cent jump in revenue. 
Troubled gold mining company Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) will get more legal and investment banking experience on its board with today’s appointment of Peter Hay as a Non-Executive Director. 
Indonesian-focused Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU, TSE:IAU) has announced its CEO Brad Gordon has resigned following the gold miner’s lengthy legal battles to reclaim rights to one of its projects.
Property trust Australian Education Trust (ASX:AEU) has improved its annual net profit by 71 per cent to almost $37.9 million and flagged a potential rebranding to properly reflect its pursuits. 
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is health care gaining 207 points to 13,691. Shares in Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY) have risen 3.27 per cent and trading at $5.06. Shares in Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) and ResMed Inc.(ASX:RMD) are also stronger. 
The worst performing sector is utilities, falling 21 points to 5,385. Shares in SP AusNet (ASX:SPN) have fallen 1.29 per cent, trading at $1.15. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) and DUET Group (ASX:DUE) are also lower. 
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,292 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 89.95 US cents.

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