Wall Street up for quarter: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market looks set to firm higher with ASX futures pointing to a modest lift, despite Wall Street closing in the red on Friday.

The three major US indices posted strong quarterly gains of at least 4.6%, while the Nasdaq recorded its best quarter since 2013 with tech stocks rising over 12% in the quarter.

Back in the intraday terms though, on Friday, financials dragged down the S&P 500, while heavyweights like Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil contributed the most losses on the Dow Jones.

US economic news

The Commerce Department reported that personal income, in dollar terms rose 0.4% in February. That represents a fall from January’s 0.5% rise.

Meantime, consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, edged up by 0.1%. That was the smallest gain since August and follows the 0.2% rise in January.

Local economic news due out this week 

On Monday we can expect the ABS to report the retail trade for February, the building approvals for February, which is a forward looking measure of home building, and we’ll also see the home value index for March.

Also on Monday, the Australian Industry Group (AIG) will announce the performance of manufacturing for March, while ANZ will release the Job Ads for March.

Come Tuesday, the RBA board will meet to will make a decision about cash rates, with predictions the bank will hold the rate at 1.5%

On Tuesday as well the ABS will report on international trade for February, and finally on Wednesday, new vehicle sales will be announced for March.

Markets

To the figures: Wall Street closed up lower on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3 per cent to close at 20,663, the S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to close at 2,363 and the NASDAQ closed at breakdown at 5,912.

European markets closed up mixed: London’s FTSE lost 0.6 per cent, Paris added 0.7 per cent and Frankfurt rose 0.5 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei dipped 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed lower on Friday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,865. It was also up 111 points for the week. On the futures market the SPI is 7 points up.

Company news

Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)’s Non-Executive Director, David Smith has resigned from the company’s board effective from Friday 31 March 2017. It comes as part of Bradken’s takeover by Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd (HCM). The engineering company also announced that Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd (HCM) nominated David Harvey and Kenji Ota to join the Bradken board. David Harvey is the Managing Director of Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd and Kenji Ota is Vice President and Executive Officer. Shares in Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN)last traded 0.3% higher at $3.25.

Ex-dividends

Four companies are going ex-dividend today:

- Austock Group Limited (ASX:ACK) is paying 1 cent fully franked,
- Hunter Hall Global (ASX:HHV) is paying 3.5 cents fully franked,
- Naos Emerging Opportunities (ASX:NCC) is also paying 3.5 cents fully franked and
- Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC) is paying 6 cents fully franked.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying 76.38 US cents, 60.89 Pence Sterling, 85.11 Yen and 71.65 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has lifted by $5.90 to $US1,252 an ounce.
Silver added 7 cents to US$18.27.
Oil has also gained 51 cents to $US50.85 a barrel.