Aust shares higher at noon

The Australian share market is higher at noon, helped by gains in bank stocks, utilities and retail-focused shares.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.6 per cent at 1200 AEDT despite minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's board meeting indicating the central bank was concerned that domestic wage growth was still undershooting its expectations.

Banking stocks were the mainstay in Tuesday's session, with all four major banks trading around one per cent higher.

Retail-focused stocks, including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Premier Investments, and supermarket giant Woolworths, were up between 0.7 to 1.2 per cent.

Woodside, Oil Search and Santos were down around one per cent each, but shares in gas pipeline operator APA Group rose more than two per cent after it signed a three year deal with AGL Energy AGL which replaces the existing contract on the Moomba-Sydney Pipeline.


* At 1201 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 34.8 points, or 0.63 per cent, at 5,596.9 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 33.2 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 5,646 points.

* The March share price index futures contract was up 25 points at 5,553 points, with 13,061 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 1.2 billion securities traded, worth $1.9 billion.

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