Australian market higher at noon

Published by AAP Newswire, October 2010

The Australian stock market continued its rise to noon on the back of high commodity prices and mostly positive economic reports for the US and Chinese economies.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had gained 35.6 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 4,614.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index was 32.9 points higher, or 0.71 per cent, at 4,667.6.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the December share price index contract was 45 points higher at 4,631 on a volume of 9,993 contracts.

Wealth Within chief analyst Dale Gillham said there were signs the All Ordinaries index would reverse in coming weeks.

"Most of the stocks are not really moving too much at the moment," he said.

"I think the market will fall away for a week or two and then turnaround and go quite strongly until February."

Commodity prices remain strong, with gold setting a record high on Friday and oil settling at more than $US80 a barrel.

Among the energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum gained 29 cents to $44.59 and Santos rose 12 cents to $12.83 at 1200 AEDT.

The major miners performed well, with BHP Billiton gaining 54 cents, or 1.37 per cent, to $40.00 and Rio Tinto adding 78 cents to $77.85.

At 1205 AEDT, all four major banks were higher, led by Commonwealth Bank which added 53 cents to $51.43.

Westpac gained 40 cents to $23.33, ANZ was 23 cents higher at $23.74 and National Australia Bank was 39 cents higher at $25.39.

"It looks like we are getting out of sync with the Dow Jones index and moving back into our own space," Mr Gillham said.

"That is brilliant from our point of view."

Manufacturing data from the US on Friday showed factory activity was still expanding in September.

Personal income and consumer spending both rose more than expected in August, with incomes jumping by their fastest pace in eight months.

Strong Chinese manufacturing data suggested the Asian superpower will keep importing commodities in large volumes from resource-based economies.

Newcrest Mining, Australia's biggest gold miner, continued to reap the benefits of record high gold prices, gaining 44 cents to $40.44 by 1215 AEDT.

In news on Monday, the TD Securities Melbourne Institute Monthly Inflation Gauge showed that in the 12 months to September, the measure rose 3.2 per cent, breaching the upper bound of the central bank's two to three per cent inflation target band.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to increase the overnight cash rate from the current 4.5 per cent.

Agribusiness AWB said that its takeover suitor, Canada's Agrium, had received clearance from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for its $1.24 billion all-cash offer for AWB.

AWB gained half a cent to $1.485 by 1215 AEDT.

Rio Tinto led the gains among the S&P/ASX 100.

Orica Ltd fell the most among the top 100, losing 19 cents, or 0.73 per cent, to $25.76.

At 1231 AEDT, market turnover was 944 million shares changing hands for $1.133 million, with 508 shares up, 360 down and 324 unchanged.

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