ASX to rise and follow Wall Street’s new highs

Market Reports

by David Chau

The Australian share market is expected to follow positive leads from US equities and open higher this morning.

The Wall Street indexes all finished with new record highs once again – boosted by Financials and Healthcare shares, while losses were posted by the Utilities and Telcos sectors.

The market was eagerly awaiting the testimony of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, who said it would be “unwise” to wait too long before raising US interest rates. At this stage, the Fed is not expected to announce a rate hike next month.

US economic news

The Labor Department said that the producer Price index went up 0.6% in January, which was higher than expected. This is the biggest gain in four years, although a strong US dollar has been keeping underlying inflation in check.

Local economic news

Westpac Bank will release its February consumer sentiment survey results today.

Also out today, The Australian Bureau of Statistics will will release its January figures for new vehicle sales.

Markets

Wall Street closed higher this morning: The Dow Jones added almost 0.5 per cent to 20,504 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% at 2,338 and the NASDAQ was up 0.3 per cent at 5,783.

European markets finished mixed: London’s FTSE was down 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.2 per cent and Frankfurt was flat.

Asian markets were mixed as well: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 1.1 per cent, while both the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite were flat.

The Australian share market finished lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1% to close at 5,755. On the futures market the SPI is up 27 points.

Company news

Altura Mining (ASX:AJM) has awarded a contract worth $110 million to NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH). The contract is for mine development, drill and blast, and mining services at Altura’s new Pilangoora Lithium Project in WA, with mobilisation expected to commence in March. At the close of trade yesterday, shares in Altura Mining finished 2.86% higher at 18 cents.

Reporting season

We’re still in earnings season, and a few companies will be reporting their results today. Some of them include: A2 Milk, Commonwealth Bank, CSL, Dexus Property Group and Wesfarmers.

Ex-dividends

Three companies are going ex-dividend today. They are: Downer EDI (ASX:DOW), Milton Corporation (ASX:MLT) and Macquarie Media (ASX:MRN).

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying $US0.7661, 61.44 Pence Sterling, 87.52 Yen and 72.42 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $3.10 to $US1,230 an ounce.
Silver was up 13 cents to $17.95 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.14 to $US53.67 a barrel.