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Aust shares higher at noon

The Australian share market has edged higher following modest leads from Wall Street ahead of a likely rise in US interest rates later this month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 12.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, at noon after a flat opening, with strong gains from the miners and telecommunication stocks offset by losses from energy, retail, healthcare and utility stocks.

On Friday, US stock indexes edged higher after a late wave of buying and a speech by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen suggested rates were likely to rise this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.01 per cent, while the S&P 500 index gained 0.1 per cent.

In the local market, mining shares led the gains, with Rio Tinto up 2.05 per cent, or $1.25, to $62.17, BHP Billiton gaining 1.62 per cent, or 42 cents, to $25.75, and Fortescue Metals climbing 3.5 per cent, or 22 cents, to $6.50.

Declines in consumer-focused stocks including REA Group, Tatts Group and TabCorp dragged on the market, while healthcare stocks including Cochlear and Primary Healthcare also weighed.

ANZ was the only big bank to fall, dropping two cents to $31.15.

Shares in Navitas plunged 15.52 per cent, or 77 cents, to $4.19 after the education services provider said it expects earnings to fall by at least $12 million next financial year.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is trading higher at 75.80 US cents, up from 75.54 US cents on Friday.


* At 1200 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 12.9 points, or 0.23 per cent to 5,742.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 9.7 points, or 0.17 per cent to 5,785.1 points.

* The March SPI200 futures contract was up 20 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 5,727 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.80 US cents, from 75.54 on Friday

* 86.22 Japanese yen, from 86.30 yen

* 71.43 euro cents, from 71.84 cents

* 61.66 British pence, from 61.62 pence

* 107.89 New Zealand cents, from 107.38 NZ cents


* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.8202pct, from 1.823pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.7468pct, from 2.7579pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.175 (implying a yield of 2.825pct), from 97.165 (2.835pct) on Friday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.950 (2.050pct), from 97.960 (2.040pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)