Outlook: Aus shares look for positive start

Market Reports


US stocks managed to hold onto early gains as Facebook shares soared 16 per cent on news it had made more than $1 billion in quarterly profit for the first time. 
 
There were some wild swings early in the session as oil prices rose on news that Russia will discuss production cuts with OPEC. 
 
Meanwhile the Aussie dollar has jumped to two week highs after trading over 71 cents with local stocks expected to open slightly higher following the positive US lead. 
 
US economic news

According to realtors home sales are looking relatively flat as signed contract to buy existing homes rose just 0.1 per cent in December. 
 
Markets

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 per cent to close at 16,069, the S&P 500 added 0.6 per cent to close at 1,893 and the NASDAQ gained 0.9 per cent to close at 4,507.
 
European markets closed down: London’s FTSE ended 1 per cent lower, Paris lost 1.3 per cent and Frankfurt slipped 2.4 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.8 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 2.9 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 30 points up to finish at 4,976. On the futures market the SPI is 14 points up. 
 
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 8.30AM was buying 70.83 US cents, 49.36 Pence Sterling, 84.18 Yen and 64.76 Euro cents.

Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is private sector credit for December and 4th quarter PPI.
 
Company news
 
ALS Limited (ASX:ALQ) says it is expecting third quarter profit to be in line with guidance. The company expected profit to be in the range of between $30 million - $35 million and says unaudited profit has come in at $31 million on revenue of $351 million. Shares in ALS closed 4.09 per cent lower at $3.51 yesterday. 
 
Migme Limited (ASX:MIG) says CEO Steven Goh has a new employment agreement. Mr Goh will now be paid $350,000 Singaporean dollars per year with a short term incentive of up to 50 per cent of his base salary and share options as a long term incentive. Mr Goh founded the company in 2006 in Australia, grew the business in Silicon Valley and now operates out of Singapore. Shares in migme last closed 4.44 per cent down at $0.86. 
 
Commodities

Gold has shed $2.40 to US$1,114 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. Silver is down 22 cent to $14.24 for March. Copper has slipped 1 cent to $2.05 a pound. Oil has added $1.49 to US$33.79 a barrel for February light crude in New York.