Wall Street on a high after stimulus plan: ASX to open higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Following positive leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher. The US Senate sat for almost 12 hours to pass President Joe Biden's $2.5 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. The final bill includes US$520 billion in one-off payments of US$1,800 to most Americans, US$390 a week in extended jobless benefits for the 9.5 million people and US$455 billion in aid to state and local governments. The Australian dollar was hit on Friday as the yield reversal continues.

Local economic news

The week kicks off on Tuesday, when Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Group economists release weekly credit and debit card spending data while ANZ-Roy Morgan release the weekly consumer sentiment survey. Also on Tuesday, the National Australia Bank issues its monthly business survey. On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank Governor, Philip Lowe, delivers a speech to the Australian Financial Review Business Sentiment. Also on Wednesday there is another survey of consumer confidence – the March monthly survey by Westpac and the Melbourne Institute. And, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the ‘Labour Account’. On Thursday, the Reserve Bank releases data on credit and debit cards, ATM statistics and cheques.

Markets

Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.9 per cent to close at 31,496, the S&P 500 added almost 2 per cent to close at 3842 and the NASDAQ closed 1.6 per cent higher at 12,920.

European markets closed lower on Friday: London’s FTSE lost 0.3 per cent, Paris fell 0.8 per cent and Frankfurt closed almost 1 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed lower on Friday: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.04 per cent lower.

Back home, the SPI futures are pointing to 1.6 per cent gain. On Friday, the Australian share market closed 0.7 per cent lower at 6711.

Company news

The CEO of Oceania Healthcare (ASX:OCA) Earl Gasparich has announced his resignation. He joined Oceania Healthcare in August 2014 and has led them through a period of substantial growth and transformation, including its initial public offering in May 2017. The Board has appointed Brent Pattison, Oceania Healthcare Chief Financial Officer, to the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Shares in Oceania Healthcare (ASX:OCA) closed flat at $1.33 on Friday.

Ex-Dividends

Austral Gold (ASX:AGD) is paying 0.8 cents unfranked
Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD) is paying 1 cents fully franked
Kogan.Com Ltd (ASX:KGN) is paying 16 cents fully franked
Laserbond Limited (ASX:LBL) is paying 0.6 cents fully franked
Nick Scali Limited (ASX:NCK) is paying 40 cents fully franked
Northern Star (ASX:NST) is paying 9.5 cents fully franked
Propel Funeral (ASX:PFP) is paying 6 cents fully franked
REA Group (ASX:REA) is paying 59 cents fully franked
Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) is paying 48.5 cents fully franked
Smartgrp Corporation (ASX:SIQ) is paying 32 cents fully franked
Summerset Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:SNZ) is paying 5.521 cents unfranked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:00 AM was buying 76.98 US cents, 55.71 Pence Sterling, 83.49 Yen and 64.61 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has lost 2.2 per cent to US$174.11.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.3 per cent fall.
Gold was down $2.20 to US$1699 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.17 to US$25.29 an ounce.
Oil was up $2.26 to US$66.09 a barrel.