Optimism on Wall St: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The US markets closed the day of trade in record territory, and Australia’s futures are up, indicating a positive day of trade today on the ASX. The US tax bill is coming closer to being passed, with a decision expected as soon as early this week. If it is passed, corporate taxes would be slashed to 21 per cent from 35 per cent. The Dow jumped 140 points by the close of trade, its 70th record close of the year, and the Nasdaq briefly topped 7,000 for the first time. Telecommunications and materials advanced the markets as the best-performing sectors.

On the commodities front, iron ore is continuing its solid gains, 2 per cent higher today, gold is up more than half a per cent, and oil has dropped.

US economic news

The housing index for December jumped 74 points, higher than the 70 expected by the market, the highest reading since July 1999.

Figures

Wall Street closed in higher territory yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 per cent to close at 24,792, the S&P 500 added 0.5 per cent to close at 2,690 and the NASDAQ advanced 0.8 per cent to close at 6,995.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE gained 0.6 per cent, Paris increased 1.3 per cent and Frankfurt jumped 1.6 per cent.

Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.7 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.05 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 42 points up to finish at 6,039.

On the futures market the SPI is 29 points up.

Company news

The proposed merger between Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) and New Zealand media and entertainment business NZME (NZX:NZM) has been declined by the High Court. This comes after the two companies appealed a decision by the New Zealand Commerce Commission not to clear or authorise the proposed merger. Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said the high court’s decision is disappointing and said the merger would have sustained journalism at scale in New Zealand for many years. NZME CEO Michael Boggs said he was also disappointed with the decision, as he believed the merger would have improved the efficiency of news and entertainment content generation and distribution for New Zealand audiences. Shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) closed 1.97 per cent higher to $0.77.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying 76.65 US cents, 57.30 Pence Sterling, 86.30 Yen and 65.08 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $7.20 to $US1,265 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.11 to $US16.18 an ounce.
Oil has lost $0.04 to $US57.29 a barrel.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 2 per cent in the last 24 hours to US$18,867.
Ethereum picked up 7 per cent to US$779.
Litecoin rose by about 5 per cent to US$340.