Oil Search is up 1.8%, and Santos is 1.3% higher, as a key Papua New Guinea liquefied-natural-gas project involving them and Exxon has begun producing ahead of schedule. The early output was enough to cause Oil Search to to raise its production guidance for the year. Meanwhile, Caltex Australia is up 0.9%, and Woodside Petroleum is 0.3% higher.
News that Roc Oil is buying Horizon Oil in an all-stock deal worth just shy of $400 million. Both companies shares are in a trading halt.
Financials are also mostly higher, with CBA up 0.6%, while ANZ adds 0.2%, and Macquarie is 1.7% higher. Then again, Westpac is flat and NAB is 0.1% softer after Citi downgraded the former to neutral from buy, and the latter to sell from neutral.
Wesfarmers is up 0.1% after reporting gains for its Coles supermarket sales but a drop for its Target discount stores. Woolworths — Wesfarmers top rival in the grocery business — is trading 0.7% higher.
In the always-important mining sector, a drop in iron-ore prices is beleaguering the ore players, with Fortescue Metals down 1.2%, Mt. Gibson Iron down 1.9%, and Atlas Iron down 1.6%.
Elsewhere in the mining space, BHP Billiton is down 0.5%, Rio Tinto is down 1%, Alumina is down 1.8%, Newcrest is down 2%, and Whitehaven Coal is up 0.1%.