Outlook: ASX set to follow Wall Street higher

Market Reports

On the back of record finishes on Wall Street, which enjoyed a broad rally, the Australian share market looks set to kick off the trading day higher. Global stocks were generally better off yesterday, with European markets buoyed by robust Chinese data and Asian markets responding positively to the commencement of Japanese monetary easing measures. 
 
US economic news

The Federal Reserve released the minutes from its March meeting- a day early by way of an emailing gaffe- however issued no huge surprises about the direction of US federal policy. Reserve members believe the central bank should continue buying $85 billion in assets per month, at least until mid year, in an ongoing effort to lower long term interest rates. 
 
Figures

Wall Street closed up yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 129 points to close at 14,802, the S&P 500 added 19 points to close at 1,588 and the NASDAQ went up by 59 points to close at 3,297.
 
European markets closed higher also: London’s FTSE added 74 points, Paris gained 73 points and Frankfurt shot up by 173 points.
 
Asian market, they were up at the close as well: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 164 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei firmed by 96 and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 points.
 
The Australian share market bucked the trend, closing lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 9 points down to finish at 4,968. On the futures market the SPI is 38 points higher. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US1.054 cents, 68.81 Pence Sterling, 105.20 Yen and 80.70 Euro cents.
 
Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is labour force data for March. 
 
Company news

Folkestone Limited’s (ASX:FLK) real estate funds management subsidiary Folkstone Funds Management will acquire a commercial office building in Wollongong’s CBD to house the second in its series of real estate income funds. Folkstone’s balance sheet will seek to underwrite $8 million to assist in the acquisition. Shares in Folkstone closed flat yesterday at $0.15.  
 
Commonwealth Property Office Fund (ASX:CPA) has increased its stake in a Sydney property asset from 25 to 50 per cent and upgraded its distribution guidance as a result. Fund Manager Charles Moore saus the increased stake not only provides immediate accretion for investors but also offers great comfort in its long term investment fundamentals. Shares in Commonwealth Propery Office Fund closed 1.33 per cent lower yesterday at $1.115.  
 
Ex-dividends 
 
Ausenco Limited (ASX:AAX): 10.1 cents, 50 per cent franked.
F.F.I Holdings Limited (ASX:FFI): 10 cents, fully franked. 
 
Commodities

Gold is down $27.90 to $US1,559 an ounce for the June contract on Comex. Silver is down $0.23 to $27.65 for May. Copper is down $0.02 at $3.42 a pound. Oil is up $0.44 at $US94.64 a barrel for May light crude in New York.