Midday: US Fed lifts ASX but miners drag

Market Reports

Shrugging off negative leads the Australian share market lifted in morning trade but has since retreated closer to the opening mark at noon. 
 
Despite Wall Street starting the week on the back-foot local stocks got a boost after the next chief of the US Federal Reserve was announced after US markets closed. Investors cheered on certainty as the US Senate confirmed Janet Yellen will become the Federal Reserve’s first chairwoman from the beginning of February.  
 
However the local benchmark has since pulled back at noon, weighed down by losses in the dominant resources sector with the gold sub-index down more than 2 per cent. Mining stocks are being hit hard after commodity prices fell overnight, offsetting strength from the majors in consumer staples and financials sectors. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has lifted 7.8 points to 5,333. On the futures market the SPI is 1 point lower. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:NZO) are trading steady after its joint venture partner Octanex NL (ASX:OXX) announced the start of a 3D seismic survey offshore New Zealand’s Taranaki Basin. 
 
Shares in Mark Bouris' TZ Limited (ASX:TZL) have risen 12 per cent after the technology company announced the Italian postal organisation has awarded its automated parcel locker system tender to TZ’s integration partner, FBA Italy. 
 
Shares in Red Mountain Mining Limited (ASX:RMX) have surged 75 per cent after the gold explorer said it has made another exceptionally high-grade gold discovery at its Lobo Prospect which is part of the Batangas Gold Project in the Philippines. 
 
Shares in Baraka Energy & Resources Limited (ASX:BKP) have plunged 40 per cent after the oil and gas explorer informed the market of a dispute with the operator of two permits which it hopes to resolve through arbitration. 
  
Best and worst performers
 
The sectors are trading mixed: The best performing sector is consumer staples gaining 56.5 points to 10,010. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE) have risen 0.95 per cent and trading at $4.79. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) and Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 73.5 points to 10,083. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) have fallen 4.31 per cent, trading at $1.11. Shares in Evolution (ASX:EVN) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold lost ground overnight, now buying $US1,238 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar has weakened this morning, now buying $US0.8937.