Following mixed leads from US markets, the Australian share market opened higher led by the banks and miners and is 0.62 per cent up at noon.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 31 points up at 5,238. On the futures market the SPI is 41 points higher.
Looking at economic news: The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence has lifted slightly to 94.8 in October up from 94.0 in September. It is the eighth consecutive month the index has been below 100 points which indicates ongoing pessimism.
Blood plasma company CSL Limited (ASX:CSL)
has announced another on-market share buyback to the tune of $950 million. This latest buyback follows a current $900 million buyback announced last October which is nearly complete. CSL Chairman John Shine says the buybacks benefit shareholders, ‘Through these buyback, all our shareholders benefit from improved investment return ratios including earning per share and return on equity’. Previous buybacks have boosted earnings per share by over 15 per cent. CSl expects net profit after tax to grow by 12 per cent this year.
Shares in CSL are trading up 0.55 per cent $72.90.
ARB Corporation Limited (ASX:ARP)
has announced a fully franked special dividend of $1.00 per share to be paid on 5th December 2014. The manufacturer of 4WD accessories is distributing accumulated franking credits and plans to recommence its Dividend Reinvestment Plan and Bonus Share Plan with respect to the special dividend only. ARB lifted sales by a modest 1.8 per cent in the 2013 financial year however export sales lifted 14 per cent driven mainly by a lower Aussie dollar. The company continues to expand recently opening warehouses in Prague and Florida. Shares in ARB have lifted 4.44 per cent to $12.83.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is telco services, gaining 1.5 per cent to 1,887. Shares in iiNet have risen 1.75 per cent and are trading at $7.84. Shares in Telstra and M2 Group are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 0.9 per cent to 13,241. Shares in Senex Energy dipped 6.44 per cent, trading at $0.47. Shares in Sundance Energy and Beach Energy are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,228 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 86.90 US cents.