The materials and IT sectors are the best performers, whilst the utilities and consumer staples are the laggards.
In company news, Downer EDI is up more than 7% after announcing the Reliance Rail financial restructuring, whilst GBG is 6% stronger after securing a contract worth approximately $750 million over six years.
In economic news, retail sales unexpectedly fell in December, coming in at -0.1% against an expected 0.2% rise.
The soft Christmas period numbers bolster the case for a rate cut at tomorrow’s RBA board meeting, adding to recent indications that the Australian economy is slowing down.
Around the region, Asian markets are mainly stronger; the Hang Seng is up 0.6% whilst the Nikkei is 1.1% higher.