Midday: Miners build on ASX gains

Market Reports

by Lelde Smitts

The Australian share market has jumped almost 1 per cent after Wall Street rose at the end of last week. All local sectors are trading stronger led by the miners on the back of stronger commodity prices. Gold miners have also shot up with the sub-index gaining almost 2 per cent in morning trade. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has jumped 49 points and is sitting at 5,416 On the futures market the SPI is 61 points stronger. 
 
Economic news
 
Detached house sales rose last month while sales of multi-units fell. The Housing Industry Association (HIA) reports house sales jumped 6.9 per cent in February while sales of multi-units dropped 6.8 per cent. HIA Chief Economist Dr Harley Dale says the results suggest more balanced growth ahead in the composition of new home building. 
 
Company news
 
Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) is set to takeover Nexus Energy Limited (ASX:NXS) after announcing a proposal to acquire the company. Both companies have entered into a conditional merger implementation agreement under which Seven has proposed to buy Nexus shares for $0.02 cash per share. While the deal is subject to conditions Nexus’ board has unanimously backed the offer and it will be put to a shareholder vote in June. Shares in Nexus remain in a trading halt and last traded at $0.059. Shares in Seven Group Holdings have gained 0.61 per cent and are trading at $8.28. 
 
Accounting software company Xero Limited (ASX:XRO, NZE:XRO) has teamed up with KPMG in the United Kingdom. Xero says the strategic alliance will see its platform play a central role in the formation of a new KPMG division. The division will provide select online accounting and tax services to small and medium sized enterprises using the cloud. Shares in Xero have fallen 0.89 per cent and are trading at $36.87. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
All sectors are trading stronger: The best performing sector is materials, gaining 110 points to 10,056. Shares in Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) have risen 4 per cent and trading at $0.91. Shares in OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) and Evolution (ASX:EVN) are also stronger. 
 
The sector with the smallest gains is health care, adding 48 points to 14,465. Shares in Virtus Health Limited (ASX:VRT) have fallen 1.9 per cent, trading at $7.24. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:SIP) and Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,298 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9249.