Outlook: Aus shares set to open higher

Market Reports

Following strong off shore leads, the Australian share market is expected to open higher and post gains in early trade.

To US economic news

The Federal Reserve’s latest edition of the Beige Book , which covers economic activity in the bank’s 12 regional districts, has revealed the overall economy expanded at a moderate pace in April and May.

The Labor department has reported productivity of US workers fell at a 0.9 per cent annual rate. The decline follows 1.2 per cent gains in the previous quarter. Analysts were expecting a drop of 0.8 per cent.

The European Central Bank has left interest rates steady at 1 per cent . The bank’s president placed pressure on euro leaders to take action.
 
Figures

Wall Street closed up yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 287 points to close at 12,415, the S&P500 gained 30 points to close at 1,315 and the Nasdaq is up 67 points to close at 2,845.

European markets closed up: London’s FTSE gained 124 points, Paris is up by 72 and Frankfurt is up by 125 points.

Asian markets closed mixed: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 262 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 152 and China’s Shanghai Composite is down by 2 points.

The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 12 points up to finish at 4,055. On the futures market the SPI is 59 points higher.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:15AM was buying 99.23 US cents, 64.07 Pence Sterling, 78.64 Yen and 78.93 Euro cents.

Economic news

The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association is the performance of construction index for May.

Stocks to watch

Global resource fund BlackRock has lifted its stake in Indochine Mining Limited (ASX:IDC) via a private placement earlier this month. BlackRock who is also a large shareholder in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) purchased 35 million shares injecting $5.25 million into the gold explorer, bringing its stake in the company to 8.64 per cent. Indochine has a gold project in Papua New Guinea and assets in Laos and Cambodia. Shares in Indochine closed 8.33 per cent up yesterday at $0.13.

QR National (ASX:QRN) has received support from the Queensland government for the expansion of the Bowen and Galilee Basins. The rail freight company says the state government will expand the existing brownfields rail system, to facilitate a staged development of both basins. QR National believes the development will facilitate the basins to become global centres for coal mining and export. Shares in QR National closed 2.88 per cent down yesterday at $3.37.

Ex-dividends

CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) with a 7 cent fully-franked dividend.
Transmetro Corporation Limited (ASX:TCO) with a 5 cent fully-franked dividend.

Commodities

Gold is up $17.30 to $US1,634.20 an ounce for the August contract on Comex.
Silver is up $1.08 to $29.49 for July.
Copper is up $0.09 at $3.38 a pound.
Oil is up $0.73 at US$85.02 a barrel for July light crude in New York.