Aust stocks tracking higher at noon

Australian shares are trading higher after a stream of positive profit results helped sustain an early rally led by gains on Wall Street.

At 1216 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.2 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5,101.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 16.9 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 5,117.9 points.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up 20 points at 5,080 points, with 15,762 contracts traded.

The local bourse opened firmer after the Dow Jones reached a fresh five-year high overnight and continued to rally as some of the local market's biggest players - including BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum - released their half year results.

"On balance, the numbers have been broadly in line, the leads offshore were quite positive and that's flowing through into fairly stable performance for the industrials on the market today," City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said.

Shares in BHP fell 25 cents, or 0.64 per cent, to $38.75, after reporting its first half profits dropped 58 per cent due to lower commodity prices, a weak US dollar and the sale of some of its businesses.

It also followed news that the global mining giant's chief executive Marius Kloppers will be stepping down after nearly six years at the helm.

Rio Tinto's shares were also 77 cents lower, or 1.09 per cent, at $69.74.

Woodside was among the morning's best performers, with its stocks adding $1.00, or 2.64 per cent, at $38.91, after reported a 98 per cent jump in full year net profit $US2.98 billion ($A2.89 billion).

"Woodside has been a feature in terms of large stocks today (after posting) a very good, clean, solid number," Mr Esho said.

Investors also reacted positively to Toll Holdings' reported lift in its first half profit by more than 20 per cent to $192 million.

Stocks in the transport and logistics group rose 25 cents, or 4.44 per cent, to $5.88.

Meanwhile, Seven West Media shares have fallen 17.5 cents, or 6.94 per cent, to $2.345 after it announced a loss of $109.3 million for the first half of the financial year because of restructure costs and the lower value of its magazines.

Suncorp Group shares have shed 46 cents, or 3.94 per cent, at $11.21 on the back of a first half net profit increase of 48 per cent to $574 million.

National Australia Bank was the best performer among the big four banks, all of which were up, adding 35 cents, or 1.16 per cent, at $30.52.

At 1223 AEDT, national turnover was 696.14 million securities worth $2.01 billion.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9269-0.0018-0.19%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5520-0.0015-0.26%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6705-0.0016-0.24%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg