Following positive leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher. US tech stocks rallied on Friday with Intel, Microsoft and Cisco among the top performers. Utilities and energy were the best performing sectors.
U.S. government debt yields fell on Friday on the back of a report on monetary policy and speeches from the Federal Reserve. The fall will help to boost stocks at least in the short term.
On the commodities front, oil has gained just over 1 per cent and gold fell about 1.4 per cent over the week, it's biggest weekly decline since December.
We can expect the weekly consumer sentiment results on Tuesday, while on Wednesday the Reserve Bank releases the monthly Financial Aggregates publication, which looks at private sector credit. On Thursday the ABS releases the business investment figures and Corelogic releases home price data for February.
Based on the daily observations home prices across the state capitals were either flat or lower in February.
Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4 per cent per cent to close at 25,310, the S&P 500 added 1.6 per cent to close at 2747 and the NASDAQ up 1.8 per cent to close at 7,337.
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE is 0.1 down, Paris is up 0.2 per cent and Germany up 0.2 per cent.
Asian markets closed up higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng almost 1.0 per cent higher, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.6 per cent.
Road transport equipment company MaxiTRANS (ASX:MXI) has announced its net profit rose 27 per cent to $7.7 million for the half year to December 2017. Revenue is also up 25 per cent to $214 million compared to the prior corresponding period. The company’s earnings (EBIT) increased by 21 per cent. MaxiTRANS interim dividend remained unchanged at 2 cents per share fully franked. The Chairman says the stellar revenue results came largely as a result of a contract with Coles supermarket. Shares in MaxiTRANS closed 12 per cent higher to 85 cents on Friday.
As reporting season enters its final week We can watch out for a number of companies reporting today including Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD) , Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL) Next DC Limited(ASX:NXT) and QBE Insurance Group (ASX: QBE).
Eight companies are going ex-dividend today: Aurizon (ASX: AZJ) is paying 14 cents 50 per cent franked Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) is paying a dividend of 26 cents 70 per cent franked while Wesfarmers is paying a dividend of $1.03 fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 7:35AM was buying $US078.34, 56.07 Pence Sterling, 83.79 Yen and 63.78 Euro cents.
Gold has lost $2.40 to $1330 an ounce.
Silver is down $0.09 to $16.55 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.78 to $63.55 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has fallen0.1 per cent to US $9629, Tether has gained about 0.1 per cent to $1.00 and Ethereum gained about 2.2 per cent to US$843.