The US markets had a positive session, and the futures are indicating a good start to trade today.
Positive momentum in the US markets continues on the back of the tax reform and the better-than-expected corporate earnings season. New import tarrifs for washing machines and solar panels aiming to boost US manufacturing is also giving the markets a push. Netflix had strong gains, up 10 per cent after reporting an increase in memberships, boosting the Nasdaq to finish at a record high. S&P 500 also closed at a record high, and the Dow hit an intraday record, but finished lower by the closing bell. Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble both reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter.
The oil price is stronger, but the copper price has fallen to a one-month low with concerns over oversupply in the copper market, which could affect the big miners such as BHP and Rio today. Iron ore has also dropped. Gold is higher.
US economic news
The Redbook Index was 3.8 per cent higher last week compared to the same time last year, showing a promising rise in retail sales.
The Richmond Manufacturing Index fell to 14 in January from 20 in December, below market expectations of 19, indicating a slowdown in manufacturing growth.
Local economic news
We can expect the Department of Employment to release skilled internet job vacancies for December, which increased 0.3 per cent in November and has risen consecutively for more than a year.
Wall Street closed mostly yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.01 per cent lower at 26,211, the S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent to close at 2,839 and the NASDAQ gained 0.7 per cent to close at 7,460.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.2 per cent, Paris dropped 0.1 per cent and Frankfurt increased 0.7 per cent.
Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.7 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite increased 1.3 per cent.
And back home, the Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 45 points higher to finish at 6,037.
On the futures market the SPI is 17 points up.
Retailer Kathmandu (ASX:KMD) announces that the group’s net profit after tax (NPAT) for the first half of FY2018 will be no less than $12 million, an increase from the previous year’s $10 million. Total sales for the first half of the financial year will be approximately $204 million, also a rise on last year’s $196 million. Same store sales grew by 1.9 per cent in Australia, whereas New Zealand same store sales declined by 6.4 per cent. Shares in Kathmandu (ASX:KMD) closed 2.3 per cent higher yesterday at $2.21.
New Zealand energy company Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) has lifted its EBITDAF guidance to $530 million from $515 million. The company said this is due to an expected increase in full year hydro generation due to wet weather in the Taupo area. Annual hydro generation is now forecast to lift by 550 GWh above average to 4,550 GWh for the financial year. Shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) last traded 1.5 per cent higher yesterday at $3.03.
One Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying 80.02 US cents, 57.17 Pence Sterling, 88.27 Yen and 65.09 Euro cents.
Gold has gained $9.20 to $US1,346 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.05 to $US17.04 an ounce.
Oil has gained $1.13 to $US64.70 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed.
Bitcoin has gained 5.4 per cent to $11,072.
Ethereum gained 3.5 per cent to $996.
Tetherhas fallen 0.3 per cent to $1.00.