Midday: ASX trades higher on positive US lead

Market Reports

Following positive leads from overseas markets the Australian share market opened stronger after the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and is 0.28 per cent higher at noon.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 15 points up at 5,479. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher.
 
Economic news

The NAB monthly business survey for May has reported that business confidence survived the unveiling of the ‘horror’ Federal Budget relatively intact. The result was a surprise considering the soft business conditions in April. Forward orders bounced back from a drop in April. Forward looking indicters suggest weaker conditions will persist for much of the next quarter. 
 
And job ads have fallen sharply in May. The ANZ monthly survey of job advertisements shows the first dip in 5 months with job ads down 5.6 per cent following from a 2.2 per cent rise in April. Economists are hoping the decline is temporary, attributing it to the tough Federal Budget.
 
Company news
 
Oil and gas explorer Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) has some hot competition in its friendly takeover of Ambassador Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AQO). The competition comes from US corporation Magnum Hunter Resources. The NYSE traded Magnum Hunter today announced an off-market takeover offer of one Magnum Hunter share for every 28 Ambassador shares. The Magnum Hunter offer represents a 20 per cent premium to the Drillsearch offer. Drillsearch had offered 1 of its shares for every 5.4 Ambassador shares valuing the target at 29 cents per share. The Magnum Hunter offer values Ambassador shares at 34c each. Drillsearch already owns a 20 per cent stake in Ambassador and says its offer had support from other major shareholders unless a better offer emerged. Shares in the takeover target are in a trading halt. Drillsearch has the right to match any other offers received within five business days.  Shares in Drillsearch are trading 0.65 per cent higher at $1.54.
 
Panoramic Resources Limited (ASX:PAN) says it has has just posted record monthly production at its Lanfranchi nickel mine. The mining and exploration company delivered close to 62,000 tonnes of nickel from the Lanfranchi mine with its Savannah project also having an excellent month. Thanks to strong nickel prices the record production is also delivering Panoramic plenty of cash lifting cash and receivables on hand to $88.6 million to end of May, up from $55 million at the end of March. Panoramic Resources also says it has completed its aquistion of the Coericus and East Kimberley Joint Ventures and now owns 100 per cent of both these assets. Shares in Panoramic Resources have fallen 2.76 per cent to $0.70.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is financials gaining  39 points to 6,183. Shares in Henderson Group have risen 2.58 per cent and are trading at $4.58. Shares in Challenger and Platinum Asset Management are also stronger.
 
The worst performing sector is health, falling 198 points to 14,394. Shares in Ramsey Healthcare have fallen 4.14 per cent, trading at $43.81. Shares in Sirtex Medical and Sonic Healthcare are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,254 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.55 US cents. .

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