The Australian share market is trading higher at lunchtime, despite a negative start impacted by more falls on European and US share markets overnight.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 22, 2011.
Investors in the US and Europe sold out of stocks as Cyprus's president worked on a new plan to obtain a European bailout.
Financial stocks are driving the local gains, with Westpac (WBC) the strongest out of the big four banks.
Construction giant Leighton Holdings (LEI) has fallen significantly in early trade and is down 7% at lunchtime to $20.25 following the resignation of three board members. Chairman Stephen Johns and non-executive directors Wayne Osborn and Ian Macfarlane, a former RBA Governor. The trio has resigned following what they believe to be a breakdown in relations with major shareholder Hochtief.
Elsewhere, surf wear retailer Billabong (BBG) has rebounded somewhat from yesterday's sharp falls, which triggered the company to request a trading halt. BBG fell 14% yesterday to 69.5c and is currently firmer by 7% to 74.5c.
So far at lunch, one billion shares have been traded, worth $1.6 billion. 308 are up, 448 are down and 297 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar is stronger against the major currencies, buying US104.34c, €80.82c and £0.6871.
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