Wall St continues record highs: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

It continues to be a good start to the trading year, with Wall Street closing off Friday’s session in the green. Australia’s futures are also higher, so it is going to be a positive start to the trading week today. The US markets are closed today for a holiday, but will resume trading tomorrow.

The Dow closed 228 points up, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both up nearly 0.7 per cent, continuing to set record highs and all posting an increase in weekly gains. Stocks got a boost from stronger-than-expected corporate earnings, including JP Morgan, BlackRock and Wells Fargo. JP Morgan shares were up 1.7 per cent as a result. The energy sector continued as one of the best performers on the back of the rising oil price. The Nasdaq is continuing to rise, with Amazon shares rising 2.2 per cent.

Iron ore has dropped, gold is up nearly a per cent, and oil continues to rise.

Local economic news

On Tuesday, we’ll have the new motor vehicle sales figures for December, which rose in November by 0.1 per cent.

On, Wednesday, housing finance figures for November will be out. The total value of dwelling finance commitments fell 0.3 per cent in October.

Building activity for the September quarter will also be released. The value of total building work rose 0.3 per cent in the June 2017 quarter.

On Thursday, we’ll see the consumer confidence figures for January, which improved 3.6 per cent in December.

The employment and unemployment figures for December will also be out. Employment increased in November by 61,600, and unemployment is sitting at 5.4 per cent.

On Friday, tourist arrivals and departures figures for November will be out. October saw a trend of 755,300 movements of short-term visitor arrivals, a 0.2 per cent increase compared to the previous month.

Lending finance for November will also be out. Housing finance dropped 0.1 per cent in October.


Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to close at 25,803, the S&P 500 added 0.7 per cent to close at 2,786 and the NASDAQ gained 0.7 per cent to close at 7,261.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE gained 0.2 per cent, Paris lost lifted 0.5 per cent and Frankfurt increased 0.3 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.9 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite increased 0.1 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 2 points up to finish at 6,070.

On the futures market the SPI is 31 points up.

Company news

Investment company Century Australia Investments (ASX:CYA) reports that its investment portfolio increased 2.4 per cent in December 2017. The largest contributor to the increase was Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) which entered into a $32 billion takeover agreement with a French company. Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) also added to the lift, after completing a merger with Tatts Group (ASX:TTS). The resources sector also contributed gains, including BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) following greater confidence about pricing conditions. Shares in Century Australia Investments (ASX:CYA) closed flat at 97.5 cents on Friday.


One Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying 79.05 US cents, 57.61 Pence Sterling, 87.89 Yen and 64.87 Euro cents.


Gold has gained $12.40 to $US1,335 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.17 to $US17.14 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.55 to $US65.23 a barrel.


Bitcoin losed 5.4 per cent in the last 24 hours to $13,616.
Ethereum fell 6 per cent to $1,333.
And Litecoin lost 4.3 per cent to $240.