Outlook: Aus shares look to extend gains

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to extend yesterday’s gains after US stocks rose on the back of merger activity. Sentiment was given a boost when Google said it would buy phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc for $US12.5 billion, helping to offset a weak report on manufacturing. Locally eyes will be on our reporting season with a series of full year results due out today.   

US economic news

The Empire State manufacturing index has shown that factory activity fell to minus 7.72 in August, representing the third straight monthly contraction.

Figures

On Monday: Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 214 points to close at 11,483. The S&P500 added 26 points to close at 1,204 and the NASDAQ lifted 47 points to close at 2,555.

European stocks started the week higher: London’s FTSE up 31 points, Paris up 25 and Frankfurt, also, gaining 25.

To Asian market, stocks also rose: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 640, Tokyo Nikkei was up 123 and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 34.
 
The Australian share market gained 2.6 per cent on Monday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 110 points to close at 4,283. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher.
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:25AM was buying $1.0504 US cents, 64.1 Pence Sterling, 80.73 Yen and 72.71 Euro cents.

Economic news

Due out today from the Reserve Bank of Australia, the central bank’s latest meeting minutes. 

Company news

Shares in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) fell 2.43 per cent on Monday to close at $47.38, after the company went ex-dividend. CBA’s chief has had his pay pack cut by almost half the $16.2 million he took home last year. Outgoing CEO Ralf Norris, who will step down this November, received remuneration of $8.64 million in the last financial year. The drop was party due to the difference in value of long-term incentives between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011. CBA last week posted a record full year net profit of $6.4 billion, 13 per cent more than the year before.

Shares in Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD) jumped 9.41 per cent yesterday, finishing up at $2.15. That was after the drilling fluids and chemicals supplier said it had swung from a full year loss to profit. In the 2011 financial year Imdex recorded a net profit of $29 million, with revenue climbing 53 per cent to a record $205 million. The company has declared a fully franked final dividend of 2.75 cents per share and maintained a positive outlook for the year ahead.

Ex-dividends

Two companies are going ex-dividend today: Alumina with a $0.03 fully franked dividend and Computershare with a $0.14 dividend, 60 per cent franked. Coming up tomorrow: JB Hi-Fi and Reckon.

Commodities

Gold is up $15.40 to $US1,758 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up $0.19 cents to $39.31 for September and copper is up 2 cents at $4.03 a pound. Oil is up $2.50 to $87.88 a barrel for September light crude in New York.