Record highs in the US: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

It’s likely to be a good start to the trading week today, with the major indices in the US finishing the week on record highs and Australia’s futures on an upward turn.

The Dow closed 224 points higher at the closing bell. Health care was the best performing sector, which also reached a record high. Pharmaceutical company AbbVie rose nearly 14 per cent after posting better-than-expected earnings for the quarter, along with Honeywell, Intel and Rockwell.

In commodities, oil is up a per cent, gold has slipped, and iron ore is also tracking lower.

US economic news

New home sales declined 9.3 per cent for December to 625,000, less than the 676,000 the market expected.

The US economy has slowed down, growing only 2.6 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Durable goods rose 2.9 per cent in December, better than market expectations.

Local economic news

On Monday, CommSec will release the state of the states report and the HIA will have new home sales for December which previously increased 0.7 per cent.

On Tuesday, the NAB business confidence survey for December will be out.

On Wednesday, we’ll have the consumer price index for the December quarter. Annual inflation is near 2 per cent and consumer prices rose 1.8 per cent through the year to the September quarter.

Private sector credit for December will also be out. Annual growth is near 5.4 per cent.

On Thursday, CoreLogic will have the home value index for January. Prices may have fallen by 0.3 per cent

The manufacturing index for January will also be out which fell previously.

Import and export prices for the December quarter will be released. Import prices dropped 1.6 per cent for the last quarter and export prices declined by 3 per cent for the quarter.

Building approvals for December will be out, which unexpectedly rose 11.7 per cent in November.

On Friday, we’ll have the producer price index for December quarter, which increased last quarter, but was below market expectations.


Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to close at 26,617, the S&P 500 added 1.2 per cent to close at 2,873 and the NASDAQ finished 1.3 per cent higher to close at 7,506.

European markets closed in the green: London’s FTSE gained 0.7 per cent, Paris increased 0.9 per cent and Frankfurt added 0.3 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.5 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.3 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed lower on Friday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 5 points lower to finish at 6,050.

On the futures market the SPI is 30 points up.

Company news

Supplier of medical equipment Paragon Care (ASX:PGC) has agreed to acquire Anaequip Medical, a multi-agency distributor of medical products based in South Australia. The total cash consideration is $2.3 million, comprising $1.84 million in cash and $0.46 million through the issue of shares. The company said the acquisition will be modestly earnings per share accretive for Paragon in FY2018. Shares in Paragon Care (ASX:PGC) closed1.25 per cent lower at $0.79 on Thursday.


One company is going ex-dividend today. Djerriwarrh Investments (ASX:DJW) is paying 10 cents fully franked.


One Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying 81.07 US cents, 57.34 Pence Sterling, 88.13 Yen and 65.20 Euro cents.


Gold has lost $10.80 to $US1,357 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.17 to $US17.44 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.63 to $US66.14 a barrel.


Bitcoin has gained 1.9 per cent to $11,763.
Ethereum gained about 10.9 per cent to $1,232.
Tether has fallen 1.2 per cent to $0.99.