Aust stocks higher at noon
Market watch top headlines
SYDNEY, Nov 30 AAP
November 30 2012, 12:44AM
Australian stocks were higher at noon, led by the strong performance of the major miners.
The big four retail banks were also trading in positive territory amid broad-based gains.
At 1225 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 27.3 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 4,505 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen 25.6 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 4,515.7 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 28 points higher at 4,517 points, with 15,505 contracts traded.
The Australian market opened up about 0.4 per cent and extended gains through the morning on encouraging sounds from Washington over the prospect of legislators reaching agreement over the looming US budget deadline.
Firmer commodities prices during the overnight offshore session also lifted sentiment, with metals and minerals stocks the best-performing sector on the market at noon, having risen 1.18 per cent, according to IRESS data.
Wall Street also closed higher.
The materials sector (up 1.1 per cent) and financial stocks (up 0.69 per cent) were also having a good day.
RBS Morgans private client adviser Bruce Smith said there was an expectation that some time in the next few weeks the US budget situation would be resolved.
"There is reasonably positive sentiment that something will happen and on the back of that the market is relatively positive," Mr Smith said.
A series of tax hikes and spending cuts, referred to as the fiscal cliff, were due to automatically come into effect from January.
Unless an agreement was reached between the White House and Congress, these measures were expected to push the US back into recession with a knock-on impact on the global economy.
BHP Billiton was up 33 cents at $34.54, while Rio Tinto had risen $1.83 to $59.01.
Among the banks, ANZ was up 16 cents at $24.25, CBA had risen 30 cents to $59.74, NAB was 30 cents higher at $24.25 and Westpac had advanced 12 cents to $25.35.
Making news on Friday, grocery wholesaler Metcash said net profit for the six months to October 31, 2012, fell 13 per cent to $82 million, compared with the prior corresponding period.
Metcash was down 5.5 cents at $3.455.
The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1,726.10 per fine ounce, up $US6.48 from Thursday's local close of $US1,719.62 per ounce.
National turnover was one billion securities worth $3.4 billion, with 441 stocks up, 336 down and 313 unchanged.