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Australian stocks surge 1% by midday, S&P 200 climbs 56.8 pts

Australian stocks surge 1% by midday, S&P 200 climbs 56.8 pts

SYDNEY: The Australian stocks market enjoyed some pre-Christmas cheer, up 1 per cent as long-distress commodity value recovered.
At 12.22pm (AEDT), the benchmark S & P/ASX200 index was up 56.8 points, or 1.08 per cent, at 5396.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 56.1 points, or 1.07 per cent, at 5369.7 points.
The price of West Texas Crude increased overnight by $2.77 to $US57.13 a barrel, while $US62.15 buys a barrel of brent crude, an increase of two cents.
In response, shares in energy giant Woodside Petroleum were up 89 cents, or 2.36 per cent, to $38.66 at noon, while fellow oil and gas producer Santos had found 45 cents, or 5.63 per cent, to $8.44.
CMC sales trader Tony Kwok said the gains were expected, given a 3.3 per cent rise in oil futures.
Mr Kwok questioned whether the materials sector had risen after bottoming out.
“The materials sector is up over eight per cent in the last week, and whether it is a dead cat bounce (a short lived gain after a big fall) or a genuine bottoming of the sector remains to be seen,” Mr Kwok said.
At noon, shares in global miner BHP Billiton found 74 cents, or 2.55 per cent, to $29.72, Rio Tinto shares had risen by $1.18, or 2.1 per cent, to $57.47, and iron ore pure play Fortescue Metals shares had jumped by 13 cents, or 5.1 per cent to $2.68.
In other equities news, Coles will pay $11.25 million in fines and costs after a court found the supermarket chain had engaged in illegal and unconscionable conduct in its dealings with suppliers.
But in the midst of Christmas sales, Coles owner Wesfarmers shares found 36 cents to $41.67.
However, adventure clothing retailer Kathmandu shares had tumbled by 53 cents, or 20.08 per cent, to $2.12 after it reported slow Christmas sales.
Fairfax Media shares increased by 0.25 cents to 88.25 cents after it announced it and Macquarie Radio Network have agreed to merge their radio businesses.
Macquarie shares were two cents higher at $1.34.
APN News and Media shares were three cents higher at 77 cents after it announced it had acquired Perth radio station 96FM from Fairfax Media for $78 million.