Aust Market Outlook - 02/01/10, 10.00am EST

Market Reports

The local share market is likely to open higher this morning after US stocks bounced back overnight and commodities strengthened.

Wall St started February off with strong gains following the release of some better than expected economic data and earnings from ExxonMobil.

The oil giant reported a US$6.05 billion profit for the fourth quarter, down 18% from the fourth quarter of 2008, however the result managed to beat analysts forecasts.

US President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.8 billion budget for 2011 that according to CNN Money will support the economy and ease the nation’s growing deficit.

In economic news out of the US, the Commerce Department said personal income rose 0.4% in December, economists had expected a 0.3% rise.

Personal spending rose 0.2% for the month, economists predicting a 0.3% rise.

And the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to a read of 58.8 in January from 54.9 in December. Economists expected a rise to 55.5.

Checking the figures, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 118 points to 10,186. The S&P500 Index added 15 points to 1,089 and the NASDAQ is 24 points higher at 2,171.

To other international markets, European markets were higher. London’s FTSE gained 59 points, Paris rose 23, and Frankfurt is up 46 points.

Asian markets closed mixed yesterday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 122 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei advanced 7 however China’s Shanghai Composite fell 48 points.

The Australian share market closed lower on Monday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index finished 46 points lower at 4,524 and on the futures market the SPI200’s up 46 points.

On to currencies: the Aussie Dollar at 8:50AM was buying 89.20 US cents, 80.83 Yen, 64.03 Euro cents and 55.90 Pence Sterling.

In economic news: The RBA is expected to make announcement on interest rates this afternoon at 2:30pm Sydney time following their monthly board meeting, with rates tipped to rise 25 basis points. The Commonwealth Bank/Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry fourth quarter business expectations survey is due out today, as well as the NAB monthly business survey for December.

In company news about this morning: Shares in emerging exploration and development company Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (ASX:GGG) closed flat at $0.55 yesterday. The company has released an interim pre-feasibility study on its Kvanefjeld rare earths project in Southern Greenland. The report gives the project a net present value of US$2.18 billion and free cash flow of US$8.9 billion over the life of the project. The company says the report also indicated that the project could be developed as a world class, economically robust, large-scale mining operation that would produce a rare earth concentrate and uranium oxide over a 20 year mine life. Greenland Minerals and Energy reported a loss for 12 months to June 30, 2009.

Shares in oil and gas company Rheochem Plc (ASX:RHE) closed flat at $0.18 yesterday. The company has renewed a site services contract with Santos Ltd (ASX:STO). The contract renewal is for a further 12 months and includes the supply of drilling fluids and related engineering services to Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) for its Australian offshore operations. Rheochem reported a loss of close to $34 million in the 2009 financial year.

Taking a look at ex-dividends: While there are no company’s going ex-dividend today, coming up on Friday is Australian Foundation Investment Company with an 8 cent fully franked dividend.

To commodities: Gold rose $21.50 cents to US$1,105.30 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. For the March contract silver gained 46 cents to US$16.65 and copper is up 4 cents at US$3.09.

The price of oil gained $2 to US$74.89 a barrel for March light crude in New York.