Outlook: ASX looks to bounce higher

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks to bounce higher this morning and widen the week’s rally after Wall Street rose overnight. US indexes gained ground on the back of upbeat domestic economic data, shrugging of disappointing manufacturing figures from Europe and China. America’s robust manufacturing figures have also given the Australian dollar a boost, rebounding from a dip after China’s data was released yesterday afternoon. 
On the local bourse a busy week of reporting season will continue with earnings reports today due from insurance giant Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX:IAG), minerals sands producer Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) and energy company Santos Limited (ASX:STO). A first quarter trading update is expected from National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
US economic news
American factory activity has risen at its quickest pace in almost four years this month. Markit’s preliminary US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 56.7 in February from a final reading of 53.7 in January. Both reads above 50 indicate expansion. 
The US Labor Department reported the consumer price index rose less than expected at the beginning of 2014, adding 0.1 per cent in January. The Labor Department also showed the number of Americans looking for work eased by 3,000 to 336,000 last week. 
European economic news 
Markit’s Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the euro zone eased more than expected to 52.7 in February. 
Chinese economic news 
Markit and HSBC’s preliminary read of Chinese manufacturing activity dropped to a seven-month low of 48.3 in February. 
Wall Street rallied on Thursday as the S&P 500 approached new record highs: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 93 points to close at 16,133, the S&P 500 gained 11 points to close at 1,840 and the NASDAQ gained 30 points to close at 4,268.
European markets closed mixed after weaker manufacturing data: London's FTSE 100 Index added 16 points, France's CAC 40 added 14 points and Germany's DAX lost 41 points.
Asian markets ended lower after China’s manufacturing figures: Japan’s Nikkei fell 317 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 270 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 4 points.
Aussie miners dragged the benchmark index to a flat finish following China’s disappointing data: The S&P/ASX 200 Index added just 4 points on Thursday to end the session at 5,412. On the futures market the SPI is 44 points stronger. 
The Australian Dollar at 8:00AM was buying $US0.9018, 54.16 Pence Sterling, 92.29 Yen and 65.75 Euro cents.
Company news
Breville Group Limited (ASX:BRG) rose to the best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 and close to its all time high after releasing its interim financial report yesterday. While the kitchen appliance manufacturer’s first half net profit slipped 1.6 per cent, after the previously announced loss of its Keurig distribution deal, revenue climbed. Investors cheered the company’s 17.7 per cent growth in revenues which Breville says was underpinned by its strategy of innovation of new products. Shares in Breville Group advanced 13.07 per cent yesterday to end at $9.00. 
InvoCare Limited (ASX:IVC) has improved its net profit by 9.9 per cent to almost $49 million in the full 2013 calendar year. The owner and operator of funeral homes and cemeteries says its result was aided through divesting non-strategic properties and assets and the reversal of impairment losses. CEO Andrew Smith says the company will continue to focus on improving its comparative market share and return back to historical market share levels. Shares in InvoCare increased 1.12 per cent yesterday to end at $10.88.
Ex-dividends today
Australian United Investment Company Limited (ASX:AUI) paying a 14.5 fully franked dividend
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (ASX:BEN) paying a 31 fully franked dividend
Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) paying a 32 cent, 75 per cent franked dividend
Clime Investment Management Limited (ASX:CIW) paying a 2.5 fully franked dividend
Diversified United Investment Limited (ASX:DUI) paying a 6.5 fully franked dividend
Energy Action Limited (ASX:EAX) paying a 3.73 fully franked dividend
Gold has lost $3.50 to $US1,316.90 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has eased $0.16 to $21.68 for March. 
Copper has lost $0.01 to $3.28 a pound. 
Oil has fallen $0.39 to $US102.92 a barrel for March light crude in New York.