In the green: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The US markets closed in the green yesterday, despite an explosion in Times Square early on in the day. Australia’s futures are up, indicating a positive start to the trading session today after yesterday’s gains on Wall Street. A rise in crude oil prices lifted the energy sector, and the tech sector also led gains. Investors are keeping a close eye on a Federal Reserve rate hike which is expected tomorrow.

On the commodities front, oil is more than a per cent higher and gold is tracking lower. Iron ore is nearly a per cent higher, which should be a boost for the miners today.

US economic news

The Labor Department’s JOLTS report showed that the number of job openings in the US fell 2 per cent to less than 6 million in October, below market expectations, while new hires picked up 4.4 per cent.

Consumer inflation expectations in the US remained unchanged in November.

Local economic news

The NAB business confidence figures for November will be out, which edged up in October, the highest it’s been in three months.

The HIA will release new home sales for October, which dropped 6 per cent in September.

The house price index for Q3 will be out. Last quarter, residential property prices increased 1.9 per cent.

And the Reserve Bank will have their meeting today.

Figures

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to close at 24,386, the S&P 500 added 0.3 per cent to close at 2,660 and the NASDAQ is up 0.5 per cent to close at 6,875.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE gained 0.8 per cent, Paris and Frankfurt dropped 0.2 per cent.

Asian markets closed up: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite added almost 1 per cent.

The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 4 points up to finish at 5,998.

On the futures market the SPI is 14 points up.

Company news

ANZ (ASX:ANZ) announced the sale of its Wealth Australia life insurance business including OnePath Life Australia to Zurich Financial Services today. The total proceeds of the transactions is $2.85 billion, including an upfront $1 billion in reinsurance commission. As part of the agreement, ANZ will enter a 20-year strategic alliance with Zurich to offer life insurance solutions through ANZ’s distribution channels. This follows the sale of ANZ’s OnePath Pensions and Investments and Aligned Dealer Groups businesses to IOOF for $975 million. Shares in ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closed 0.04 per cent lower to $28.50.

To ex-dividends

Two companies are going ex-dividend today:

Gentrack (ASX:GTK) is paying 7.75 cents partially franked and James Hardie (ASX:JHX) is paying 10.45 cents unfranked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:40AM was buying 75.27 US cents, 56.43 Pence Sterling, 85.49 Yen and 63.97 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has lost $4.70 to $US 1,244 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.09 to $US 15.73 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.64 to $US 58 a barrel.