Shares open on 20-month high: Midday roundup

The local sharemarket has opened on a 20-month high following a positive lead from European markets, with London also rising to a five-year high.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.48% to 4,800.2 at the open, although slipped down to be up by just 12.4 points or 0.3% to 4,789.9 at 12.00 AEST.

Macmahon shares lift 13% on contract news

Shares in Macmahon Holdings have risen 13% this morning to 29 cents, after the company announced a five-year deal with Fortescue Metals Group.

The company said the $1.8 billion deal would be associated with the expansion of Fortescue’s Christmas Creek project.

“This is an exciting project that builds on the existing success of our surface mining operations, securing a stronger foundation for the Company’s mining focused business over the next five years,” chief executive Ross Carroll said in a statement.

The deal is now the largest ever signed by the company.

Obama takes oath for second term

United States President Barack Obama has now taken the oath of office for a second term, at a public ceremony in Washington DC.

The event occurred on the Martin Luther King Jr. public holiday.

In a speech to a crowd measuring hundreds of thousands of people, Obama encouraged onlookers to be optimistic about America’s economy and future.

“We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,” he said.

“But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

Obama has been in an ongoing battle with Congress about raising the debt ceiling. Republicans are calling for the White House to make even more spending cuts to social services.

ACCC cracks down on Samsung’s energy savings claims

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained a court enforceable undertaking from Samsung Electronics.

The undertaking follows concerns by the consumer watchdog that Samsung may have breached the Australian Consumer Law by misrepresenting the energy savings of its Bubble Wash washing machines compared to conventional washing machines.



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