News: Midday: ASX rises to new 2012 highs

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    A positive lead from Wall Street has lifted the Australian share market 0.4 per cent higher at noon. The momentum has continued this week putting the local bourse on track for another weekly gain despite concern about the looming US fiscal cliff deadline.  


     


    The S&P/ASX 200 index has risen 20 points and is sitting at 4,654. On the futures market the SPI is 26 points higher. 


     


    Company news



    DEXUS Property Group (ASX:DXS) has bought stakes in three Sydney properties one day after announcing it has sold the majority of its United States industrial portfolio for $US561 million. The property investor has paid $503.7 million for the local properties from an institutional fund managed by Colonial First State Asset Management. Dexus plans to completely exit the US market by April next year to focus on core Australian CBD office markets. Shares in DEXUS Property Group have dropped 3.79 per cent and are trading at $1.02. 


     


    Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) has been awarded a contract worth more than $US166 million from the US Navy. The shipbuilding company says the contract is a modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise the construction option for Joint High Speed Vessel 10. Austal expects the work to be completed by mid 2017 and says it has all ten Joint High Speed Vessels fully funded. Shares in Austal have risen 1.8 per cent and are trading at $0.57. 


      


    Best and worst performers



    The best performing sector is energy gaining 125 points to 12,480. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) have risen 2.52 per cent and trading at $10.99. Shares in Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) are also stronger. 


     


    The worst performing sector is utilities,falling 72 points to 5,239. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) have fallen 3. 6 per cent, trading at $5.49. Shares in Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) and SP AusNet (ASX:SPN) are also lower. 


     


    Gold and the dollar



    Gold is trading at $US1,648 an ounce.

    The Australian dollar is buying $US1.047.

 
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