Following positive leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher. US share markets were stronger on Friday ending the day slightly up. The gains came off the back of positive factory output and consumer sentiment figures. Energy stocks were among the best performers, treasury yields rose and the dollar gained.
On the commodities front, oil hit a two day high and gold dropped.
US economic news:
US housing starts fell by 7 per cent in February to just over 1.2 million slightly lower than a forecast of close to 1.3 million. It follows a jump of 10 per cent in January.
And as for local economic news due out this week, On Tuesday the Reserve Bank Board minutes for March are released and the house price index for the December quarter also comes out. Prices declined by 0.2 per cent in September quarter but the market is expecting a lift of 0.1 per cent for this quarter.
On Thursday, all eyes will be on the employment figures for February the market consensus is that jobs may have lifted by 20, 000 for the month.
To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed mostly higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 per cent to close at 24,947, the S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent to close at 2,752 and the NASDAQ closed flat at 7,482.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE rose 0.3 per cent, Paris gained 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt added 0.4 per cent.
Asian markets closed lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7 per cent.
Taking all of this into consideration, the ASX futures are pointing to a 27 points gain. On Friday the Australian share market closed higher with the S&P/ASX 200 Index closing 29 points higher at 5,949.
Precious metal exploration company Heron Resources (ASX:HRR) has announced that it has applied for voluntary delisting from the Toronto Stock exchange (TSX). Its expected securities will no longer be tradable from the close of trading on 29 March 2018. The company says the Canadian register will be open for around 6 months to allow for movement of shares to the ASX. Shares in Heron resources (ASX:HRR) closed Shares in Heron Resources (ASX:HRR) closed 0.67 per cent lower at $0.74.
A number of companies are going ex-dividend today: Cochlear (ASX:COH) is paying 14 cents fully franked, Reese (ASX:REH) is paying 6 cents fully franked and Vita-Life Sciences (ASX:VLS) is paying $2.25 also fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 7:35AM was buying US77.13 cents, 55.37 Pence Sterling, 81.70 Yen and 62.80 Euro cents.
Gold has lost $3.80 to $US1312 an ounce.
Silver has dropped $0.15 to $US16.27 an ounce.
Oil has added $1.15 to $US62.41 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower: Bitcoin has fallen 4.70 per cent to US$7519, Ethereum fallen over 12 per cent to US$488 and Ripple has fallen over 9 per cent to US$0.57.