Another record close for US major indices: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market looks set to push higher at the open, following strong leads from US markets.

The Dow Jones, The S&P and the Nasdaq all posted strong record closes with US investors continuing to lap up President Donald Trump's positive pending tax announcement.

Higher oil prices also fuelled markets particularly the energy sector, after crude oil prices rose 1.6% on Friday when OPEC members delivered on over 90% of their output cuts in January. That news of course pushed The S&P500 higher with materials and industrials also leading the charge. The Dow Jones soared about 100 points with machinery company, Caterpillar, adding the most gains.

US economic news

The US government reported a US$51 billion budget surplus in January, beating analyst expectations of a $40 billion surplus.
The 2017 year-to-date fiscal deficit hit US$157 billion, which was just shy of the US$160 billion deficit in the prior corresponding period.

Import prices in the US rose 0.4% in January, which was more than economist forecast.
For the 12 months to January import prices also jumped 3.7%, which was the largest gain since February 2012, amid increased oil and commodity prices.

US Consumer Sentiment fell to a reading of 95.7 in February, falling from its decade high of 98.5 in January.

Local economic news

Today we are expecting Tourist arrivals numbers as well as credit and debit card lending figures for December.

On Tuesday the ABS will release its housing, personal, lease and business loan numbers for December.

The NAB Business survey for January will also be released, with trading conditions already at 9-year highs.

On Wednesday, we can look out for new vehicle sales for January.

On Thursday, the employment data for January will be released, with predictions the unemployment rate will hold at 5.8%

Markets

Wall Street closed up on Friday:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to close at 20,269
The S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent to close at 2,316 and
The NASDAQ rose 0.3 per cent to close at 5,734

European markets also closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.4 per cent, Paris is flat and Frankfurt lifted 0.2 per cent.

Asian markets also closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 2.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.4 per cent.

Back home, the Australian share market closed higher on Friday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 56 point higher (or almost 1% higher) to finish at 5,721. For the week it gained 99 points. On the futures market the SPI is 10 points higher.

Company news 

Westoz Investment Co Limited (ASX:WIC) has announced its net profit (attributable to members) increased 385% in the six month to 31 December 2016, compared to the prior corresponding period. Thanks to the increase, the fund manager's net profit after tax rose to about $15 million for the period. At the same time Westoz also reported a 41% drop in revenue from ordinary activities. Westoz Investment Co Limited (ASX:WIC) last traded at 1% higher to $1.01


Reporting season

There are quite a few companies reporting financial results today. Just to name a few, can watch out for Amcor Limited (ASX:AMC), Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (ASX:BEN) and JB Hi Fi Limited (ASX:JBH)

Ex-dividends

Three companies are going ex-dividend today, K2 Asset Management (ASX:KAM) is paying 2 cents fully franked, Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) is paying 10.65 cents unfranked and Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) is paying 12.55 cents unfranked. 

Currencies and the Australian Dollar

At 7.20am the Australian Dollar was buying $US0.7682, 61.61 Pence Sterling, 87.34 Yen and 72.29 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has fallen $2.10 to $US1,235 an ounce.
Silver has gained 21 cents to $17.95
Oil has climbed 76 cents to $US53.85 a barrel.