Outlook: Shares set to open strong in 2011

Market Reports

The Australian share market is expected to begin trading in 2011 higher after receiving strong leads from offshore trading overnight. Wall Street stocks surged more than one per cent as the new trading year kicks off and it continues its rally on the back of encouraging economic data. Australian shares are also expected to rise following strong demand for commodities in offshore trade coupled with a rise on equity markets in Asia.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, closed 93 points higher to 11,671. S&P500 is up 14 points to 1,272 and the NASDAQ is up 39 points to 2,692.

European stocks were higher: London’s FTSE was closed, Paris is up 96 and Frankfurt is up 76.

To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 401, Tokyo’s Nikkei was closed and China’s Shanghai Composite was closed.

The Australian share market finished higher on Friday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 45 points to close at 4,745.

Turning to currencies and the Aussie Dollar at 8:40am was buying $US1.168 US cents, 65.68 Pence Sterling, 83.11 Yen and 76.14 Euro cents.

Company news: On Friday, shares in Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) closed 0.56 per cent lower at $42.56. According to Fairfax Media, Woodside Petroleum may be able to break a negotiating grid lock over its multi-billion dollar Greater Sunrise development by agreeing to a proposal to supply gas for East Timor’s domestic consumption. The proposal, which is yet to be formalized, will see Woodside provide a portion of LNG from Greater Sunrise for a plant built by East Timor’s government on the south coast’s Beaco Beach, where it has set aside 250 hectares of land. For the year ended 30 June 2010, Woodside reported a net profit of $1 billion.

On Friday, shares in Innamincka Petroleum Ltd (ASX:INP) closed steady at $0.13. Innamincka’s chief executive David Kinsman has announced his resignation and will be leaving the company at the end of January. Mr Kinsman joined the company in November 2008 as a chief financial officer and was promoted to chief executive in March 2009. Innamincka says it will announce Mr Kinsman’s replacement at the end of the month. For the year ended 30 June 2010, Innamincka reported a net loss of $6 million.

Ex-dividends and there are three companies going ex-dividend today. Aberdeen Leaders with a $0.02 fully franked dividend; Vanguard Aus Property and Vanguard Australian Shares Index, who will announce their price later today.

Commodities: Gold is up $1.50 to $US1,422 an ounce for the February contract on Comex, silver is up $0.19 at $31.12 for March and copper is up $0.01 to $4.46 a pound and oil is up $0.17 at $US91.55 cents a barrel for February light crude in New York.