Midday: ASX up as big banks recover

Market Reports

With Wall Street rising on renewed optimism about the direction of the US Federal Reserve following stimulus supporting comments from vice chair Janet Yellen, the Australian share market opened stronger and is 0.6 per cent up at noon. Financials are leading the gains at this stage, with the big banks rebounding from losses yesterday.  
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 31 points up at 5,351. On the futures market the SPI is 27 points higher. 
 
Company news
 
Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) is set to slash jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive prompted by a slump in advertising revenue in the face of a number of flops this year. CEO Hamish McLennan has reportedly ordered senior managers to take their expenses down by 10 per cent, in a scheme called the ‘Cost Out Program,’ and redundancies may result. Shares in Ten are trading up 2 per cent at $0.26. 
 
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (CHESS) (ASX:SGT) owned Optus says aggressive cost cutting measures are behind a 33 per cent surge in its second quarter profit of $218 million. Australia’s second largest mobile operator says operating expenses were down by $202 million on the back of cost saving intitiatives, which offset a 5 per cent fall in its quarterly revenue of $2.12 billion. Shares in SingTel are trading up 0.31 per cent at $3.23. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Financials excluding real estate investment trusts gaining 70 points to 6,987. Shares in Challenger Limited (ASX:CGF) have risen 2.7 per cent and trading at $6.08. Shares in Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) and Henderson Group plc (ASX:HGG) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 13 points to 13,761. Shares in Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) have fallen 1.83 per cent, trading at $21.42. Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) and Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,284 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.9379.