Outlook: ASX to respond to US rates forecast

Market Reports

The Australian share market is eyeing an uncertain start to the session after America’s central bank kept interest rates on hold but indicated rates could rise by the end of the year. US stocks lifted off the session lows and the US dollar softened as US Federal Reserve officials suggested a gradual tightening of monetary policy. Elsewhere iron ore is lower while precious metals prices are higher and the Australian dollar has risen back about $US0.77 following the Fed’s forecasts. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to close at 17,936, the S&P 500 firmed 0.2 per cent to close at 2,100 and the Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent to close at 5,065.
 
European markets moved lower on Wednesday: London's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent, France's CAC 40 declined 1 per cent and Germany's DAX dropped 0.6 per cent.
 
Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday: Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.7 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite recovered 1.7 per cent.
 
The Australian share market climbed 1.1 per cent and ended near session highs yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 60 points to close at 5,595 on Wednesday. On the futures market the SPI is 4 points lower. 
 
Currencies 
 
The Australian dollar at 7:30am was buying $US0.7752, 48.97 Pence Sterling, 95.67 Yen and 68.37 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Reserve Bank of Australia: Quarterly bulletin 
 
Company news
 
Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) has completed the institutional component of its BT Investment Management Limited (ASX:BTT) share offer. The development comes after Westpac announced plans on Tuesday to sell down its 59 per cent stake in BT to 40 per cent or less. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation rose 1.86 per cent to close at $32.90 on Wednesday. 
 
360 Capital Industrial Fund (ASX:TIX) has again extended its takeover offer for Australian Industrial REIT (ASX:ANI) until June 26, 2015. The commercial property investment group launched the takeover in December last year but the bid has faced opposition from the target’s board and independent directors. Shares in 360 Capital Industrial Fund rose 0.81 per cent to close at $2.50 on Wednesday.
 
Commodities 

Gold has risen $7.80 to $US1,185 an ounce for the August contract on Comex. 
Silver has lifted $0.12 to $16.09 for July. 
Copper has added $0.01 to $2.61 a pound.
Oil has declined $0.15 to $US59.77 a barrel for July light crude in New York.