Outlook: Aus shares set to open higher

Market Reports

Positive gains in the US have seen the Dow Jones Industrial average pushing up and the S&P 500 extending its record high. Optimism comes off the back of positive jobs data from last month. The Australian share market should follow and looks set to open higher.
 
Global Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 40 points to close at 16,573, the S&P 500 added 5 points to close at 1,891 and the NASDAQ gained 8 points to close at 4,276.
 
European markets closed up: London’s FTSE gained 6 points, Paris gained 4 points and Frankfurt gained 20 points.
 
Asian markets closed up: Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 154 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 75 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 12 points.
 
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 14 points up to finish at 5,403. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points up. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying $US0.9250 cents, 55.644 Pence Sterling, 96.08 Yen and 67.21 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today

ABS: Retail trade for February and international trade in goods and services
 
RBA: Governor Glenn Stevens will address the American Chamber of Commerce

Australian Industry Group: Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) for March
 
Company News

Hills Limited (ASX:HIL) has announced the acquisition of Australian-based security business, Open Platform Systems. Hills will add to their outdoor security and home automation offering with the addition of this rapidly growing business that has a number of unique distribution deals and a focus on CCTV products and services. Shares in Hills rose 4.83 per cent yesterday before the announcement was made to close at $1.73. 
 
Steadfast Group Limited (ASX:SDF) has acquired a 70 per cent stake in Nautilus Marine. The independent insurance broker will take on the share capital in NM Insurance which is an underwriting agency that specialises in marine and motorcycle insurance. The final purchase price will be determined based on performance by the end of the 2015 financial year. Shares in Steadfast closed 0.31 per cent lower yesterday at $1.59.
 
Commodities

Gold is up $10.00 to $US1,290 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.26 to $19.95 for May.
Copper is flat at $3.03 a pound.
Oil is down $0.34 at US$99.40 a barrel for May light crude in New York.

Ex-Dividends 

SEEK Limited (ASX:SEK)
Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP)