Outlook: Aus shares poised for positive start

Market Reports

The SPI is pointing to a slightly higher start for Australian share market after Wall St snapped a three day losing streak. US stocks rose after the Federal Reserve suggested additional stimulus measures and a report on China’s economic growth.

Overseas economic news

China’s National Bureau of Statistics has reported that its economy grew at an annual pace of 9.5 per cent during the second quarter, easing slightly from the first quarter. Also, in US economic news, rating’s agency Moody’s has placed the US under review for a credit rating cut, as concerns mount that the government may default on its debt.

Figures

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45 points to close at 12,492, the S&P500 added 4 points to close at 1,318 and the NASDAQ gained 15 points to close at 2,797.

European stocks closed higher: London’s FTSE up 37 points, Paris up 19 and Frankfurt was up 94 points. 

To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 264, Tokyo Nikkei was up 37 and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 41 points.
 
The Australian share market gained 0.4 per cent on Wednesday: The S&P/ASX200 Index closed 19 points higher at 4,515. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points higher.

 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:00AM was buying $1.0767 US cents, 66.71 Pence Sterling, 84.77 Yen and 75.84 Euro cents.


Economic news

Due out today from the Housing Industry Association and RP Data, their residential land report for the March quarter.

 
Company news

Shares in News Corporation (ASX:NWS) extended losses on Wednesday, falling 2.96 per cent to close at $14.74. Rupert Murdoch has bowed down to increasing pressure and intensifying protests over his media empire’s operations in the UK. The company has now withdrawn its $14 billion bid for pay-TV operator BSkyB, following opposition from both sides of British politics. The news comes less than a week after News Corp shut down its British tabloid News of the World amid a phone hacking scandal and claims of widespread criminality at the paper. News Corp booked a net profit of just under $1.5 billion in the first half of its 2011 financial year.


Yesterday shares in Austar United Communications Limited (ASX:AUN) added 1.14 per cent to close at $1.34. Foxtel’s $2 billion takeover of regional pay-TV provider Austar has a number of hurdles to clear if it is to go ahead. Under the proposed deal Austar’s 54 per cent stake holder, Liberty Global will buy out Austar’s minority shareholders and sell the company to Foxtel for $1.52 per share in a series of transactions. However having cited the 200-page implementation deed, the Australian Financial Review has detailed a number of restrictions on Austar that will need to be agreed upon in addition to securing shareholder and regulatory approvals if the deal is to proceed. In the 2010 financial year Austar reported a net profit of $99.65 million.


Ex-dividends

The only company going ex-dividend today is Finbar Group with a $0.06 fully franked dividend. Among those coming up next week are Euroz, Mirrabooka and Countplus. 


Commodities

Gold is up $23.20 to $US1,585 an ounce for the August contract on Comex, silver is up $2.52 to $38.15 for September and copper is up $0.01 at $4.40 a pound. Oil is up $0.62 at $98.05 a barrel for August light crude in New York.