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Miners and telcos drive share market gains

 

The share market is slightly higher as investors are encouraged by two straight sessions of gains on Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.3 per cent at 1200 AEDT, with the mining, IT and telco sectors the best performers.

A weaker US dollar has helped drive a rise in metal prices, and BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were each around one per cent higher, while gold miners including Newcrest, Regis Resources and Evolution are significantly stronger.

Telstra was 1.3 per cent higher, while the majority of IT stocks had also gained ground, including Computershare with a 1.3 per cent rise and REA Group with a 1.6 per cent improvement.

Energy stocks were lacklustre, with Woodside Petroleum down 0.8 per cent a day ahead of its full-year financial results, Origin Energy was down one per cent, while Santos bucked the trend to be one per cent higher.

The big four banks were mixed, with Westpac and ANZ marginally lower and National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank slightly higher.

Building materials supplier Boral has announced a 13 per cent lift in first-half profit, but its shares were down 1.5 per cent.

Cochlear shares were down one per cent after its first-half profit fell one per cent due to the impact of US tax changes and changes to the timing of tenders for its hearing implants to China.

The Australian dollar has edged higher against a weaker US dollar.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 17.1 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 5,837.8 points at 1200 AEDT.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 20.8 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 5,940.5 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 34 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 5,775 points

* National turnover was 1.3 billion securities traded worth $1.9 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.54 US cents, from 78.35 US cents on Monday

* 85.36 Japanese yen, from 85.16 yen

* 63.92 euro cents, from 63.79 euro cents

* 56.76 British pence, from 56.51 pence

* 108.33 NZ cents, from 107.80 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,322.34 per fine ounce, from $US1,323.40 per fine ounce on Monday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9762pct, from 1.9948pct on Monday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.8263pct, from 2.8582pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.13 (implying a yield of 2.87pct), from 97.095 (implying a yield of 2.905pct) on Monday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.87 (2.13pct), from 97.84 (2.16pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)