Outlook: ASX to lift ahead of jobs data

Market Reports

Following positive leads the Australian share market looks to lift ahead of the nation’s monthly jobs data. European stocks got a boost from merger and acquisition activity while Wall Street was supported by well received earnings. 
 
On the local front Australia’s jobs numbers are expected to show up to 15,000 jobs were created last month and the jobless rate is forecast to remain at 6.3 per cent. 
 
The miners will also be in focus with production reports due from Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG), Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) and Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) holding its annual general meeting. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street traded and ended higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent to close at 18,113, the S&P 500 lifted 0.5 per cent to close at 2,107 and the Nasdaq advanced 0.7 per cent to close at 5,011.
 
European markets moved higher on Wednesday: London's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 per cent, France's CAC 40 rose 0.7 per cent and Germany's DAX added 0.03 per cent.
 
Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday: Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng firmed 0.2 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 1.2 per cent.
 
The Australian share market dropped 0.6 per cent after China’s growth figures came in at a six-year low: The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 38 points lower at 5,908 on Wednesday. On the futures market the SPI is 38 points higher. 
 
Currencies 
 
The Australian dollar at 7:30am was buying $US0.9682, 51.78 Pence Sterling, 91.51 Yen and 71.91 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Labour force data for March and new motor vehicles sales for March
 
Housing Industry Association-CoreLogic RP Data: Residential land report for the December quarter
 
Company news
 
Mineral sands producer Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) has inked a deal with mineral explorer Windward Resources Limited (ASX:WIN). Under the asset sale and purchase deal Iluka will buy a part of Windward’s Fraser Range South project area for $80,000. Windward says it will continue to advance exploration activities on its remaining Fraser Range South project area. Shares in Iluka Resources rose 3.98 per cent to close at $8.36 on Wednesday ahead of the announcement. 
 
Shares in Cellmid Limited (ASX:CDY) soared more than 20 per cent yesterday after reporting what it describes as outstanding results for its hair growth product. The biotechnology company says evolis ONE has been shown to reduce hair loss, increase hair growth and improve hair recovery and release in the study group. Cellmid believes the results will give the company multiple opportunities for commercialisation. Shares in Cellmid soared 23.81 per cent to close at $0.026 on Wednesday following the announcement. 
 
Ex-dividends

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) paying a 36 cent fully franked dividend

Commodities 

Gold has gained $8.70 to $US1,201 an ounce for the June contract on Comex. 
Silver has added $0.12 to $16.28 for May.
Copper has firmed $0.01 to $2.71 a pound. 
Oil has lifted $3.10 to $US56.39 a barrel for May light crude in New York.