Outlook: Upbeat US confidence to lift ASX

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to lift after Wall Street snapped two days of losses and gained on the back of an upbeat read on consumer confidence. US investors focused on the strong confidence read and shrugged-off ordinary housing figures which showed US housing sales slowed last month. 
 
Across commodity markets gold has firmed from yesterday’s decline, copper has hit a two-week high and iron ore is looking stronger following last week’s decline.  
 
In Australia the local currency has struck a new 2014 high amid reports the Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees the Aussie dollar heading up to $US0.95. 
 
US economic news
 
Consumer confidence in America has risen to a six-year high. The Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 82.3 this month from 78.3 in February. The March read was the strongest since January 2008 where it stood at 87.3. 
 
New home sales in America dropped last month. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index fell 3.3 per cent in February after falling 0.1 per cent the month before, but is still 13.2 per cent stronger over the year. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street gained ground on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 91 points to close at 16,368, the S&P 500 gained 8 points to close at 1,866 and the NASDAQ gained 8 points to close at 4,234.
 
European markets rebounded more than 1 per cent yesterday: London's FTSE 100 Index jumped 85 points, France's CAC 40 jumped 68 points and Germany's DAX jumped 150 points.
 
Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday: Japan’s Nikkei lost 52 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 114 points but China’s Shanghai Composite added just 1 point.
 
The Australian share market traded and ended in the red yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 10 points lower on Tuesday at 5,337. On the futures market the SPI is 19 points higher. 
 
Currencies 
 
The Australian dollar continues to stay strong at a four-month high and at 8:15am was buying $US0.9167, 55.48 Pence Sterling, 93.75 Yen and 66.32 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
The Reserve Bank of Australia: Financial Stability Review
 
Company supply deals 
 
Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) soared yesterday after inking a firm long term off-take contract with global commodities trading giant Noble Group. The West African focused iron ore developer says the agreement is a pivotal deal which paves the way for the completion of debt funding. Under the agreement Noble will buy all product produced for the first decade of operation, outside that allocated to project equity participants. Sundance has also advised Noble has indicated its willingness to assist in getting the company’s Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project into development as soon as possible. Shares in Sundance Resources soared 11.24 per cent on Tuesday following the announcement to close at $0.099. 
 
Explosives and blasting systems provider Orica Limited (ASX:ORI) has signed an agreement to secure gas from Strike Energy Limited (ASX:STX). Under the deal Strike will supply Orica with an extra 100 petajoules of gas over ten years from 2020. Orica says the supply deal has been negotiated at competitive prices from its position as a foundation customer. The company says it is now is a strong position in relation to gas supply for its Australian east-coast operations. Shares in Orica fell 2.81 per cent following Tuesday’s announcement to close at $21.45.
 
Ex-dividends today
 
CTI Logistics (ASX:CLX) paying a 4 cent fully franked dividend
Freedom Food Limited (ASX:FNP) paying a 1.5 cent fully franked dividend
Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) paying a 1 cent fully franked dividend
 
Ex-dividends tomorrow
 
AP Eagers Limited (ASX:APE) paying a 15 cent fully franked dividend
Lycopodium Limited (ASX:LYL) paying a 5 cent fully franked dividend
OrotonGroup Limited (ASX:ORL) paying a 8 cent fully franked dividend
STW Communications (ASX:SGN) paying a 5.3 cent fully franked dividend
Supply Network Limited (ASX:SNL) paying a 4 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities
 
Gold has firmed $0.20 to $US1,311.40 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has lost $0.09 to $19.98 for May. 
Copper has gained $0.06 to $3.01 a pound. 
Oil has fallen $0.41 to $US99.19 a barrel for May light crude in New York.