Following positive leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open slightly higher. Wall Street had a better session yesterday, following a sharp sell-off led by tech shares on Monday. The energy sector was the standout performer on the back of rising oil prices. US treasury yields rose and the US dollar continued to gain momentum. The Federal Reserve policy meeting has kicked off and will continue tomorrow. The market is expecting interest rates to rise by a quarter of a percent.
On the commodities front, oil has gained and gold has dropped about $6.
Wall Street closed higher: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to close at 24,727, the S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent to close at 2,717 and the NASDAQ rose 0.3 per cent to close at 7,364.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.3 per cent, Paris gained 0.6 per cent and Frankfurt finished 0.7 per cent higher.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 per cent.
Taking all of this into consideration, the ASX futures are pointing to a 7 points gain. Yesterday the Australian share market closed lower with the S&P/ASX 200 Index losing 23 points to close at 5936.
Dairy co-operative Fonterra shareholders' Fund (ASX:FSF) has announced a drop in net profits from NZ$418 to NZ$348 million for the six months to January. Sales revenue was up 6 per cent to $9.8 billion. The company’s normalized earnings (EBIT) fell by 25 per cent to $458 million. The dairy business declared a dividend of 10 cents per share to be paid on the 20th of April. Shares in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund (ASX:FSF) closed 0.9 per cent higher at $5.53.
A number of companies are going ex-dividend today: Newcrest Mining (ASX:NME) is is paying 9.52 cents fully franked, and Supply Network (ASX:SNL) is paying 5 and ahalf cents also fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying US76.84 cents, 54.90 Pence Sterling, 81.85 Yen and 62.77 Euro cents.
Gold has lost $6.90 to $US1311 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.14 to $US16.18 an ounce.
Oil has gained $1.61 to $US63.47 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has gained 5.8 per cent to US$8,965, Ethereum added 3 per cent to around US$562 and Ripple gained over 4 per cent to US$0.72.