News: Midday: Positive offshore leads bouy ASX

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    The Australian share market has moved 0.4 per cent higher in morning trade following positive offshore leads. Wall Street continued to climb higher amid renewed optimism rates look likely to stay on hold for some time. European markets also gained as Scotland headed to the polls for an independence vote, and first results are now starting to come in. Closer to home telco and financial stocks are supporting the benchmark index and leading most sectors higher at noon. 
    The S&P/ASX 200 index is trading 19 higher at 5,435. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher. 
    Company news
    Sydney Airport Holdings Limited (ASX:SYD) experienced 1 per cent total passenger growth last month, aided by more Chinese visitors. The airport saw a 0.7 per cent lift in domestic passengers and a 1.8 per cent rise in international passengers in August. Chinese travellers increased by almost 18 per cent and the company also noted strong passenger growth from India and Hong Kong. CEO Kerrie Mather says strong underlying demand over the month supports the ongoing expansion of the network and capacity flying from Sydney. Shares in Sydney Airport Holdings have gained 0.23 per cent to $4.29 at noon. 
    Iron ore miner BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) is moving in on Kerry Stokes' Iron Ore Holdings Limited (ASX:IOH). BC Iron has now secured a 71.97 per cent stake in its target, rising from a 59.5 per cent relevant interest last week. Iron Ore Holdings now plans to start an active campaign recommending shareholders accept what it describes as a compelling offer. The board believes a combined entity will be better able to operate in challenging market conditions than either company could separately. Shares in BC Iron have fallen 0.25 per cent and are trading at $1.99.
    Best and worst performers
    The best performing sector is telco services, gaining 0.6 per cent to 1,903. Shares in iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) have risen 1.02 per cent and trading at $7.96. Shares in TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) are also stronger. 
    The worst performing sector is utilities, easing 0.4 per cent to 5,802. Shares in AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGK) have fallen 1.54 per cent, trading at $13.43. Shares in DUET Group (ASX:DUE) are also lower while shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) are flat at noon. 
    Gold and the dollar
    Gold is trading at $US1,222 an ounce. 
    The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8961.
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Last trade - 16.10pm 20/10/2021 (20 minute delay) ?
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Last updated 15.59pm 20/10/2021 (live) ?
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