(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market is solidly higher at midday, with growth led by banking, mining and utilities stocks continuing a strong lead from Wall Street overnight.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 36 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 6020.3 points at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday.
Banking stocks led the way despite concerns about a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the lenders, after their Wall Street counterparts gained on the back of easing regulatory worries and apparent confirmation of a December US rate hike.
The Commonwealth Bank was the best performer of the big quartet, up one per cent to $81.13, followed by National Australia Bank and Westpac, both up 0.8 per cent.
Material stocks rebounded from Tuesday’s decline, led by mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which climbed one and 0.3 per cent respectively, despite a fall in the iron ore price.
The energy sector was also higher despite oil prices easing slightly, with Origin Energy up 2.2 per cent, while Woodside fell 0.1 and Oil Search 0.7 per cent.
In company news, shares in Bingo Industries climbed 12.5 per cent to a record $2.30 after the waste disposal firm raised $106 million in an institutional offer to fund its recently announced acquisitions.
Job ads group Seek was up after upgrading forecast earnings at its AGM on Wednesday.
Seek shares were up 28 cents or 3.0 per cent at $19.66.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was down against its US counterpart, with the greenback strengthening on the back of rate rise expectations.
The local currency was trading at 76 US cents at 1200 AEDT, from 76.13 on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* At 1200 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 36 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 6020.3 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 36.9 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 6103.6 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 40 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 6,029 points.
* National turnover was 1.85 billion securities traded worth $1.88 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.00 US cents, from 76.13 US cents on Tuesday
* 84.82 Japanese yen, from 84.65 yen
* 64.14 euro cents, from 63.96 euro cents
* 56.88 British pence, from 57.11 pence
* 110.33 NZ cents, from 109.67 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,293.78 per fine ounce, from $US1,294.40 per fine ounce on Tuesday
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.7955pct, from 1.8032pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4519pct, from 2.4542pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.485 (implying a yield of 2.515pct), from 97.49 (2.51pct) on Tuesday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.09 (1.92pct), unchanged.
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)