Outlook: Aus shares set to open higher

Market Reports

US stocks ended slightly higher on Friday providing a positive lead for local stocks. Higher oil prices allowed stocks there to bounce. P
Positive comments from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen signalling the Fed will regard any further rate hikes very cautiously in light of increasing global headwinds also lent to investor sentiment. 
US Economic news

Wholesale inventory data highlighted more economic uncertainty as a report from the Commerce Department shows U.S. inventories were down 0.5 per cent in February. It’s the fifth consecutive monthly decline showing companies have cut back on production. 

Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to close at 17,577, the S&P 500 added 0.3 per cent to close at 2,048 and the NASDAQ advanced 0.05 per cent to close at 4,851.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 1.1 per cent, Paris rose 1.4 per cent and Frankfurt gained nearly one per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng both rose 0.5 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8 per cent.
The Australian share market closed lower ahead of the weekend: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 27 points down to finish at 4,938 to be 62 points lower on the week. On the futures market the SPI is 20 points higher.


The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying 75.5 US cents, 53.47 Pence Sterling, 81.61 Yen and 66.19 Euro cents.

Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is housing finance for February. 

Company news
Beston Global Food Company Limited (ASX:BFC) says it will buy 51 per cent of South Australian water business AQUAEssence. Beston will pay $875,300 from retained funds for the bottled water company and hopes to use it to expand into China and other Asian markets. Shares in Beston last traded 1.19 per cent lower at $0.415 cents.
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) says the Target Managing Director Stuart Machin has resigned . Mr Machin said he feels he had made progress in re-shaping the troubled business however accounting issues discovered at the half year forced him to accept responsibility and move on. The outcome of a Wesfarmers investigation into the accounting practices will be finalized soon. Shares in Wesfarmers last traded 0.32 per cent lower at $40.33.  

Three companies are going ex-dividend today: Brickworks Limited (ASX:BKW) will pay 16 cents fully-franked, Clover Corporation (ASX:CLV) will pay a quarter of a cent fully franked and Cyclopharm Limited (ASX:CYC) will pay half a cent fully franked. 

Gold has risen $6.30 to $US1,244 an ounce for the June contract on Comex. Silver has added 23 cents to $15.38 for May. Copper is up 1 cent to $2.09 a pound. Oil rose $2.46 to US$39.72 a barrel for May light crude in New York.

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