The US markets all finished in the green, with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all up around one per cent. The Dow closed 322 points higher to close above 26,000 points for the first time. It rose above this level the session on Tuesday. The Australian futures have taken an upward turn, indicating a more positive day today on the ASX.
The US labour market has continued to strengthen and economic activity is rising at a solid rate, giving investors a solid push. Big banks in the US reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results which also gave a boost of confidence. Tech stocks were boosted by Apple which has announced it will bring cash back in to the US market from overseas. The company said it expects to inject US$350 billion in the US economy over the next five years due to the new tax law, and will create 20,000 new jobs.
Gold has dropped, oil is steady and iron ore is tracking higher.
US economic news
Mortgage applications continue to rise in the US, increasing 4.1 per cent as of last week after jumping 8.3 per cent in the previous period.
The US Redbook Index shows that retail sales increased 2.6 per cent as of last week.
Local economic news
Employment and unemployment figures for December will be released today. Employment increased in November by 61,600 and the unemployment rate is sitting at 5.4 per cent.
The Melbourne Institute will release consumer inflation expectations for January, which remained unchanged at 3.7 per cent in December from November.
Wall Street closed in positive territory yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3 per cent to close at 26,116, the S&P 500 added 0.9 per cent to close at 2,803 and the NASDAQ increased 1 per cent to close at 7,298.
European markets closed in the red: London’s FTSE dropped 0.4 per cent, Paris lost 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.5 per cent lower.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite increased 0.2 per cent.
Back home, the Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 33 points down to finish at 6,016.
On the futures market the SPI is 9 points up.
New Zealand telecommunications company Chorus (ASX:CNU) reported its line connection trends all declined in Q2, which was consistent with the first quarter results. Fibre uptake has increased to 42 per cent from 39 per cent in September. Video streaming continues to drive growth in data demand and broadband connection speed has increased. Shares in Chorus (ASX:CNU) closed 1.3 per cent lower at $3.79 yesterday.
Two companies are going ex-dividend today: CYBG (ASX:CYB) is paying 1.74 cents unfranked, and Eildon Capital (ASX:EDC) is paying 1.93 cents fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying 79.86 US cents, 57.70 Pence Sterling, 88.85 Yen and 65.44 Euro cents.
Gold has lost $8.80 to $US1,328 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.16 to $US17.02 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.11 to $US63.78 a barrel.
Bitcoin has fallen 1.2 per cent in the last 24 hours to $10,864.
Ethereum lost 0.7 per cent to $986.
And Litecoin has fallen about 1.1 per cent to $178.