Midday: Aus shares follow Wall St record run

Market Reports

After rising to a new five-year high last week the Australian share market has continued to climb 0.7 per cent this morning. Local stocks have followed Wall Street’s record run that saw the S&P 500 rise to a new all-time high on Friday. 
 
All sectors are trading higher with consumer staples leading the pack on the back of gains in supermarket giant Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) and dairy producer Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA)
 
The mining sector is also rallying led by the majors, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO), while the gold sector is mixed after last week’s great gains.
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has climbed 37 points to 5,359 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 29 points higher. 
 
Economic news
 
Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (ASX:CBA) Business Sales Indicator declined 1.4 per cent in September following a rise of a 2.5 per cent the month before. CommSec chief economist Craig James notes the drop in spending came at the housing market got a boost and predicts spending should lift in the next few months with the Federal Election and US debt issues behind us for now. 
 
Further proof of housing sector strength - Australian residential land sales achieved the highest quarterly volume in more than three years. The Housing Industry Association and RP Data Residential Land Report shows land sales grew 18.2 per cent to 17,170 in the second quarter. HIA Chief Economist Harley Dale says, “The recovery in residential land sales in impressive but from a very low base”.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) are trading steady after the television network announced a new venture to create international programming with Beyond International Limited (ASX:BYI) called 7Beyond. Shares in Beyond International have jumped 13.55 per cent. 
 
Shares in FKP Property Group (ASX:FKP) have gained 5.01 per cent after the property investor revealed it will sell its 37.7 per cent stake in New Zealand retirement village owner and operator Metlifecare Limited (NZX:MET). 
 
Shares in Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) have firmed 1.02 per cent after the property investor announced it plans to buy the Southgate Plaza Shopping Centre in South Australia for $60 million and fund the purchase through the recently finalised the sale of its Polish assets. 
 
Shares in Eden Energy Limited (ASX:EDE) have surged 33.33 per cent after the diversified energy company inked a world-wide exclusive licence deal with Monash University to use carbon nanotube and concrete technology. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is consumer staples rising 116 points to 10,045. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW)  have risen 2.41 per cent and trading at $34.78. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) and Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) are also stronger. 
 
The only major sector showing weakness is health care, falling 45 points to 14,015. Shares in Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) have dropped 0.94 per cent, trading at $18.95. Shares in CSL Limited (ASX:CSK) are also lower while shares in Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL) are slightly higher. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is buying $US1,318 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 96.5 US cents.