Great start to the year: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The US markets closed in the green in Friday’s session, capping off a strong start to the new year. The Dow and Nasdaq had the best start to the year since 2006. Stocks closed at record highs, posting strong weekly gains, and the Dow finished 220 points up. Alphabet and Amazon hit record highs, which helped push the Nasdaq even further, finishing above 7,100 points.

Australia’s futures are up and iron ore has continued to rise, so it should be a positive start to the week. In other commodities, oil has dropped while gold is sitting flat.

US economic news

The US economy posted 148,000 new jobs in December, according to the Labor Department, which was less than expected by analysts.

The non-manufacturing ISM index fell to 55.9 in December from 57.4 in November. Factory orders, however, rose 1.3 percent in November, exceeding expectations.

Local economic news

The AIG will release the construction index for December today. It increased in November, continuing ten consecutive months of growth.

On, Tuesday the ABS will release building approvals for November, which unexpectedly rose in October.

ANZ will have job advertisement figures for December, which rose 1.5 per cent in November.

On Wednesday, NAB will have business confidence figures for December, which dropped in November.

On Thursday, retail sales figures for November will be out which increased half a per cent in October.

On Friday, we’ll have the credit and debt lending figures for November.

Figures

Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to close at 25,296, the S&P 500 added 0.7 per cent to close at 2,743 and the NASDAQ gained 0.8 per cent to close at 7,137.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE gained 0.4 per cent, Paris gained 1.1 per cent and Frankfurt gained 1.2 per cent.

Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.2 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 45 points up to finish at 6,122.

On the futures market the SPI is 18 points up.

Company news

Shareholders of food company Bega (ASX:BGA) have agreed to pass a $122.5 million institutional placement which was completed last year. More than 84 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the placement. The total capital raise is $160 million, which included a $37.5 million share purchase plan. This puts Bega in a position to undertake further share placements to fund any other growth opportunities. Shares in Bega (ASX:BGA) closed 2.49 per cent lower to $7.04 on Friday.

Property investment and funds management group 360 Capital Group (ASX:TGP) is proceeding with a special dividend and capital reallocation, following a 99 per cent shareholder vote in favour on 29 December 2017. The special dividend will be fully franked at 21.01 cents per share, franked at 7.97 cents per share, with payment scheduled to occur on Wednesdau 31 January 2018. Shares in 360 Capital Group (ASX:TGP) closed 2.91 per cent higher to $1.06 on Friday.

Ex-dividends

Two companies are going ex-dividend today.

HGL Limited (ASX:HNG) is paying 1.5 cents fully franked, and Metro Performance Glass (ASX:MPP) is paying 3.25 cents unfranked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying 78.60 US cents, 58.01 Pence Sterling, 88.95 Yen and 65.39 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $0.70 to $US1,322 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.02 to $US17 an ounce.
Oil has lost $0.57 to $US61.44 a barrel.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 5.1 per cent in the last 24 hours to $16,309.
Ethereum gained gained 9 per cent to $1,129.
And Litecoin has fallen about 4.4 per cent to $285.