February begins with a positive outlook: The ASX is set open higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares are set to start February by opening higher this morning following on from US stocks that continued their rally to see their biggest monthly gain in three years. Better-than-expected corporate earnings and the Fed's dovish turn lifted investor sentiment. Tech shares led advances. General Electric and Facebook both surged more than 10 per cent after good quarterly results. The Australian dollar nudged 73 US cents - iron ore rose over three per cent .

Economic News

AiG performance of manufacturing January and the Australian Bureau of Statistic are set to release the Producer Price Indexes for December

To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1 per cent to close at 25,000, the S&P 500 added 0.9 per cent to close at 2,704 and the NASDAQ gained 1.4 per cent to close at 7282.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE added 0.4 per cent, Paris gained 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt lost 0.1 per cent.

Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.4 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the ASX futures are up 14 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 0.4 per cent lower or 22 points lower 5865.

Company news

James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) announced today that Dr Jack Truong has now been officially appointed as CEO and to the board of directors. James Hardie Chairman, Michael Hammes says they felt a structured transition and handover would be in the best interest of shareholders. He takes over from Louis Gries who served as CEO for 14 years. Louis has resigned from the board of directors effective from today. James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) closed 2.34 per cent higher at $15.33 yesterday.

Ex-Dividends

NB Global Corporate Income Trust (ASX:NBI) is paying 0.875 cents unfranked
Ozgrowth (ASX:OZG) is paying 0.25 cents fully franked
Westoz Investment Company (ASX:WIC) is paying 3 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:45AM was buying 72.76US cents, 55.51 Pence Sterling, 79.23 Yen and 63.58 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has gained 3.4 per cent to at US$85.34. It futures suggest a 2.3 per cent gain.
Gold has gained $9.70 to US$1325 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.14 to US$16.07 an ounce.
Oil has lost $0.28 to US$53.95 a barrel.