Midday: ASX spikes higher on metals prices

Market Reports

Following postive leads from Wall Street, the Australian share market has opened strongly and is 0.81 per cent higher at noon. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 45 points up at 5,494. On the futures market the SPI is 48 points higher. 
 
Economic news

ABS Housing Finance approvals in March have come in well below expectations. Home loans dropped by nearly 1 per cent which is a sharp decline from the gain of 2.3 per cent in February. Analysts were expecting a 1 per cent rise.  
 
Company news
 
Mining and exploration company PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) has today confirmed it is the target of an off-market takeover offer. Chinese state owned trading house Guangdong Rising Assets Management already owns a 23 per cent stake in the miner and firstly pitched a cash price of $2.20 per share inclusive of all dividends for a minimum 50.1 per cent acceptance. Guangdong then upped the offer to $2.30 per share. It’s a non-binding indicative proposal still subject to regulatory approval and due diligence. PanAust has suggested the offer is well below what it would recommend to shareholders but has agreed to open the company’s books to GD Rising to assist it in improving its offer price. Shares in PanAust have jumped 32 per cent to $2.08 on the news.. . 
 
Australand Property Group (ASX:ALZ) has secured two new residential sites in Sydney and Melbourne. The property developer plans to build over 1200 dwellings over the two projects which comprise of a 20 hectare residential infill site in Burwood East Melbourne and a 3 hectare infill site in Botany, 10 km south of Sydney. The Botany site will be host to 440 dwellings and planning approvals are well advanced with earnings expected from 2017. Australand is spending $65 million on the land in Melbourne located around 20 kilometers from the Melbourne CBD and is just down the road from the Group’s recently completed medium density development in Burwood. Australand recently rejected a takeover offer from Stockland Group.
Shares in Australand are trading 0.83 per cent lower at $4.20. 
 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials gaining 211 points to 10,193. Shares in PanAust have skyrocketed 32 per cent to $2.08 on news of its takeover offer. Shares in Oz Minerals are up and and Sandfire Resources i are also stronger after yesterday’s announcement that it will fast trace production at its Thaduna copper project.  
 
The worst performing sector is Real estate investment trusts, falling 10 points to 1,048. Shares in GPT Group have fallen 2.55 per cent, trading at $3.82. Shares in Shopping Centres Austris Group and Dexus Property Group are also lower. 
 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US$1,296 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.57 US cents.