Outlook: ASX set to rise on Wall St records

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks to rise this morning after Wall Street touched more record highs. US traders were encouraged by comments from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen providing hints for the future of monetary policy decisions. While Yellen highlighted the strength of America’s labour market speculation still surrounds when exactly the Fed will hike interest rates. The price of gold dropped to almost a two-month low while the Australian dollar rebounded above $US0.78.
 
Closer to home reporting season continues with results due from Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC), Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL), Westfield Corporation Limited (ASX:WFD) and also WorleyParsons Limited (ASX:WOR)

Global markets
 
Wall Street gained on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 per cent to close at 18,209, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to close at 2,115 and the Nasdaq rose 0.1 per cent to close at 4,968.

European markets advanced on Tuesday: London's FTSE 100 lifted 0.5 per cent, France's CAC 40 lifted 0.5 per cent and Germany's DAX lifted 0.7 per cent.
 
Asian markets ended mixed on Tuesday: Japan’s Nikkei added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.4 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite remained closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. 
 
The Australian share market was supported by a series of well received earnings results yesterday including BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX:BHP): The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 19 points to close at 5,927 on Tuesday. On the futures market the SPI is 24 points higher. 
 
Currencies

The Australian dollar at 8:30am was buying $US0.7835, 50.7 Pence Sterling, 93.15 Yen and 69.09 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Wage price index and construction work done data for December quarter
 
Reporting season
 
Shares in MMA Offshore Limited (ASX:MRM) fell to the benchmark index’s worst performer amid concerns about the impact of a lower oil price environment. The marine services business boosted its net profit by 56 per cent to $37.7 million as revenue jumped 80 per cent to $456.3 million in the first half. MMA Offshore has also warned on future challenges following the recent plunge in the oil price but says it is in a good position to weather the storm. Shares in MMA Offshore retreated 11.68 per cent to close at $0.87 following the results.

Iron ore miner Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) has booked an interim net loss of $1.09 billion over the same period the price of the steel making commodity plunged. Managing Director Ken Brinsden says the company demonstrated a track record of consistently reducing costs during the first half and has forecast significantly lower costs during the second half. Looking ahead Mr Brinsden believes Atlas is well placed to benefit from an improvement in the Australian dollar price of iron ore. Shares in Atlas Iron fell 2.44 per cent to close at $0.20 following the results.

Dividends

Aurora Sandringham Dividend Income Trust (ASX:AOD) paying a 0.45 cent dividend, 119.33 per cent franked
Cover-More Group Limited (ASX:CVO) paying a 5 cent fully franked dividend
Energy Action Limited (ASX:EAX) paying a 2.59 cent fully franked dividend
Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) paying a 1 cent unfranked dividend
Korvest Limited (ASX:KOV) paying a 17 cent fully franked dividend
Magellan Financial Group Limited (ASX:MFG) paying a 37.1 cent fully franked dividend
Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) paying a 9.4 cent fully franked dividend
Santos Limited (ASX:STO) paying a 15 cent fully franked dividend
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) paying a 15 cent fully franked dividend
Transpacific Industries Group Limited (ASX:TPI) paying a 0.7 cent fully franked dividend
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) paying a 184.6391 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities 

Gold has dropped $1.10 to $US1,199.70 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has slipped $0.05 to $16.25 for March. 
Copper has risen $0.05 to $2.63 a pound. 
Oil has dipped $0.39 to $US49.06 a barrel for March light crude in New York.