Outlook: ASX looks to recover some losses

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to recover some of this week’s steep losses after US stocks rose overnight. The gains came following yesterday’s retreat brought on by the US Federal Reserve’s decision to taper the pace of its economic stimulus program.
 
However, overnight US investors shrugged off concerns an interest rate hike may be coming and instead focused on better than expected economic figures. Americans were encouraged with news business activity bounced more than expected this month while jobless claims rose less than expected last week.
 
Commodity markets have continued to stay soft with the price of gold, silver, copper and oil moving lower. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street recovered from earlier losses on the back of upbeat economic data on Thursday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 109 points to close at 16,331, the S&P 500 gained 11 points to close at 1,872 and the NASDAQ gained 12 points to close at 4,319.
 
European markets ended mixed on Thursday: London's FTSE 100 Index lost 31 points, France's CAC 40 added 20 points and Germany's DAX added 19 points.
 
Major Asian markets retreated more than 1 per cent on Thursday: Japan’s Nikkei dropped 238 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 387 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 28 points.
 
The Australian share market plunged more than 1 per cent yesterday to end near session lows: The S&P/ASX 200 Index sank 62 points to close at 5,294. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points higher. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar at 7:25am was buying $US0.9042, 54.8 Pence Sterling, 92.63 Yen and 65.64 Euro cents.
 
Company news
 
Shares in AP Eagers Limited (ASX:APE) rose after the automotive retail group announced a $15 million acquisition. The company has agreed to buy the car dealership operations of the Ian Boettcher Group located in Ipswich in Queensland. While the deal remains subject to some hurdles including due diligence AP Eagers advises the dealership operations have annual turnover of about $150 million. Shares in AP Eagers rose 1.94 per cent following the announcement to close at $5.25. 
 
Shares in McAleese Limited (ASX:MCS) closed higher ahead of the transport and logistics provider telling the market its Cootes tankers have been allowed to continue to operate on New South Wales roads. The announcement follows a tumultuous period for the company which has seen its stock drop following a profit downgrade and the loss of customer contracts. The NSW state government’s green light comes after McAleese agreed to adhere to safety regulations and checks on an ongoing basis. Shares in McAleese rose 3.12 per cent ahead of the announcement to close at $0.495. 
 
Ex-dividends today

Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) paying a 6.25 cent fully franked dividend

Commodities 

Gold has fallen $10.80 to $US1,330.50 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has dropped $0.39 to $20.43 for May. 
Copper has lost $0.06 to $2.93 a pound. 
Oil has dipped $0.94 to $US99.43 a barrel for April light crude in New York.