Australian shares are in a position for a higher open today thanks to surging prices for nickel and aluminium lifting miners in London and New York. U.S. stocks edged higher as rising oil prices boosted energy producers. Treasuries fell and the US dollar advanced amid direct talks starting with North Korea and Russian leader Vladimir Putin - seeking to dial down tensions with America.
IBM Corp.’s weak results dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a loss. Oil surged around 3 percent after an industry report showed crude inventories fell, driving energy stocks higher.
Commodities - paced by US sanctions on Russia's Rusal and Saudi Arabia's push for higher oil prices - have almost recovered from their February drop.
In New York, BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) gained 3.1 per cent and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) was 3.9 per cent higher.
US economic news
Treasury yields rose toward 2.87 percent in the wake of a Federal Reserve report on Wednesday that showed trade concerns cast a shadow over an otherwise solid outlook for the economy.
Figures from around the globe
Wall Street closed mixed yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to close at 24,748, the S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent to close at 2,709 and the NASDAQ added 0.2 per cent to close at 7295.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 1.3 per cent, Paris rose 0.5 per cent higher and Frankfurt ended 0.04 per cent higher.
Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.8 per cent.
Taking all of this into equation, the ASX futures are pointing to a 25 points gain. Yesterday the Australian share market closed higher with the S&P/ASX 200 Index closing 20 points higher at 5861.
In company news
The Foreign Investment Review Board has approved the sale of Murray Goulburn (ASX:MGC) to Saputo.
MG announced on Wednesday night that it had been advised by Saputo that the FIRB has approved the proposed acquisition by Saputo of all of the operating assets and operating liabilities of MG.This paves the way for the sale to proceed, as all conditions had now been satisfied. MG confirms that the asset sale is expected to complete on May 1 and that the initial distribution of $0.80 will be paid to shareholders and unitholders on May 15. MG further advises that the record date for the capital return on its shares and on units in the MG Unit Trust is April 23 with payment date May 15. Shares in Murray Goulburn Unit Trust (ASX:MGC) closed 0.5% higher to 94.5c.
Two companies are going ex-dividend today: Oneall In (ASX:1AL) at 2 cents unfranked and Katana Capital (ASX:KAT) at 0.75 cents at 64 per cent franked.
One Australian Dollar at 7:40AM was buying US77.85 cents, 54.85 Pence Sterling, 83.47 Yen and 62.90 Euro cents.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 4.3 per cent gain.
Gold has risen $2.10 to $US1352.40 an ounce.
Silver has added $0.42 to $US17.20 an ounce.
Oil has gained $2.11 to $US68.76 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has gained 3.3 per cent to US$8181, Ethereum added 3.5 per cent to US$522 and Ripple increased 7.6 per cent to 71 US cents (US$0.71.)