Aussie shares are over one per cent higher at noon, defying a mixed lead from Wall St. The banks have made gains with ANZ Ltd (ASX:ANZ) delivering a record $5.13 billion annual profit following on from NAB’s profit jump yesterday.
The S&P/ASX200 index is 51 points higher at 4,699 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 56.
To company news: Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is gearing up to slash 1,000 jobs across Australia as part of a corporate restructure. According to media reports, radio station 3AW says Telstra’s CEO David Thodey will address staff today. The positions will reportedly be cut from executive and middle management. The news follows Mr Thodey warning in July of a tough year ahead, after the telco’s profit dropped from $4.08 billion to $3.94 billion in the 2010 financial year. Shares in Telstra are 0.75% up at $2.70.
Political opposition to the $8.4 billion merger between the operator of the Australian Securities Exchange ASX Ltd (ASX:ASX) and it’s Singapore exchange counterpart is mounting. Criticism of the proposed merger has been aired in parliament today, with Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt, Western Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie, all declaring they do not support the deal. The concerns voiced today add to the doubts earlier raised by the Coalition and the Greens. Shares in ASX are 1.96% higher at $38.03.
Turning now to market indices: All sectors are trading in the black at noon. The best performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts with the index up 16 points to 866. Shares in ING Industrial Fund are up 17.39% to $0.54. Shares in Dexus Property Group and Stockland are also higher at noon. The sector with the smallest gains at midday is Health Care, with the index up 52 points to 8,244. Shares in Mesoblast have dropped 1.18% to $2.51 Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals and Probiotic are also lower at noon.
To New Zealand now, the NZSX50 is up 10 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Topping the list is Telecom of New Zealand with stock up 1.96% at $2.08 followed by Fletcher Building, Guinness Peat Group and Westpac.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $1328 US an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 97.52 US cents.
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