Following its fifth straight weekly gain the Australian share market looks to be eyeing an upbeat start after global markets rose at the end of last week. The local reporting season will again today remain in focus and blue chip stocks Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) will trade ex-dividend.
US economic news
Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index has increased more than expected, rising to 73.6 in August from 72.3 the month before.
The Conference Board has reported the index of leading economic indicators increased more than expected last month, rising to 0.4 per cent in July.
Wall Street closed higher for the day and week on Friday: On the last day of the week the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25 points to close at 13,275, the S&P500 gained 3 points to close at 1,418 and the Nasdaq gained 14 points to close at 3,077.
European markets rose on Friday: London’s FTSE rose 18, Paris rose 8 and Frankfurt rose 45 points.
Asian markets ended Friday stronger: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lifted 153, Tokyo’s Nikkei lifted 70 and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 3 points.
The Australian share market posted a strong end to last week, advancing 0.9 per cent on Friday to hit a three month high: The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 40 points on Friday and 93 over the week to finish at 4,370. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points higher.
The Australian Dollar at 7:15AM was buying $US1.043 cents, 66.45 Pence Sterling, 82.96 Yen and 84.51 Euro cents.
Economic news due out today
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Merchandise imports for July
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA): Business sales indicator for July
Fund manager BlackRock has reportedly increased its holdings in Rio Tinto Limited’s (ASX:RIO) UK-listed stock but lowered its stake in the global miner’s Australian-listed stock. According to The Australian BlackRock has spent about $300 million in the past five months to lift its stake in Rio’s UK-listed stock from 8.38 per cent to more than 9 per cent. In the same period BlackRock is also understood to have reduced its stake in Rio’s Australian-listed stock from 5.81 per cent to 4.94 per cent. Shares in Rio Tinto rose 1.1 per cent on Friday, finishing the week at $55.35.
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) is reportedly moving in on a deal with its suitor and shareholder China’s Hanlong Mining. Reports emerged last week Hanlong had cut its $1.7 billion offer by 21 per cent, from 57 cents per Sundance share to between 40 cents and 45 cents. Fairfax media says speculation is mounting that a counter bidder could also be looking to swoop on the West Africa focused iron ore miner. Shares in Sundance Resources last traded at $0.335, having entered into a trading halt earlier this month.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) with a fully franked dividend of $1.97
JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX:JBH) with a fully franked dividend of 16 cents
Merchant House International Limited (ASX:MHI) with an unfranked dividend of 0.5 cents
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) with fully franked dividend of 14 cents
UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) with fully franked dividend of 36 cents
Gold is up $0.20 to $US1,619 an ounce for the December contract on Comex.
Silver is down $0.21 to $28.00 for September.
Copper is up $0.06 at $3.42 a pound.
Oil is up $0.41 at $US96.01 a barrel for September light crude in New York.