Australian shares are set to open higher this morning on the back of a strong finish on Wall Street on Friday and a surge in base metals prices. The three major US stock indexes closed higher for the week. Apple led gains on the Dow Jones. The tech giant reached market cap of $1 trillion for the first time on Thursday as investors cheered strong quarterly results released earlier in the week. Meantime,
China said Friday it will slap tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, with charges ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent. Many of the goods are agricultural-related, with others on various metals and chemicals.
Global oil prices fell by up to 0.7 per cent on Friday as investors focussed on on-going trade tensions between the US and China. Base metal prices rose by up to 2.0 per cent on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Meantime, gold bounced from the lowest in nearly 17 months after weak U.S. jobs data pushed the dollar lower and a Chinese central bank move lifted its currency and iron ore rose by 1.5 per cent.
US economic news
Payroll growth turned sluggish in July after two robust months, Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 for the month, below the 190,000 expected by economists and the lowest gain since March. However, the past months' figures were revised substantially higher. and, wage growth met expectations.
Local economic news
Today we can look out for the measure of job ads for July, tomorrow the Reserve Bank meets to decide interest rate settings, no change in rates is expected. On Wednesday June data on housing finance is released and on Friday the lending finance figures for June are released, as well as the Quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy.
Wall Street closed higher on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5 per cent to close at 25,463, the S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent to close at 2,840 and the NASDAQ closed 0.1 per cent higher to 7812.
European markets closed higher on Friday: London’s FTSE added 1.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt increased 0.6 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed on Friday, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 0.1% higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite was down 1.0%.
On the futures markets, the SPI futures are pointing to a 21pts gain. On Friday, the Australian share market closed lower with the S&P/ASX 200 Index closing down 6 points to 6235.
Agricultural assets company, Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF) has announced the successful completion of its fully underwritten Entitlement Offer. The retail component of the offer raised about $108 million, with existing retail shareholders taking up $42 million, with the remainder to be allocated to various institutional investors. New units under the retail entitlement offer are expected to be issued on the 8th of August. Shares in Rural Funds (ASX:RFF) closed 0.5 per cent lower to $1.98 on Friday.
One company is going ex dividend today:
AMCIL (ASX:AMH) in paying 4.25c fully franked
One Australian Dollar at 7:40AM was buying US74.01 cents, 56.93 Pence Sterling, 82.28 Yen and 63.97 Euro cents.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 5.17% gain.
Gold has gained $6.00 to $US1223 an ounce.
Silver was up 8c to $US15.46 an ounce.
Oil slipped 47c to $US68.49 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has added 0.8 per cent to US$7,086, Ethereum has added 1.7 per cent to US$413 and EOS has increased 1.1 per cent to US$7.05.