Wall Street rallies: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

Australian shares look set to open higher this morning following positive leads from Wall Street. Stocks rallied in the US overnight on news that US lawmakers have struck a tentative deal that will avoid a government shutdown on Friday. Improved prospects for a U.S.- China trade deal also boosted stocks. President Trump said he would consider postponing the March 2 deadline for tariffs if the US and China can reach a deal soon. Shares of the big banks were among the best performers with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley all up at least 1.6 per cent.

Local Economic News

Today we can expect the monthly consumer confidence figures from the Westpac/Melbourne Institute.

Reporting Season

It’s another big day of earnings with a number of companies reporting today including Aveo Group (ASX:AOG), Bapcor (ASX:BAP), Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), CSL (ASX:CSL), Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), Skycity Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC), Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH), Villa World Ltd (ASX:VLW) and Virgin Australia Holdings (ASX:VAH).

Markets

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.5 per cent to close at 25,426, the S&P 500 added 1.3 per cent to close at 2,745 and the NASDAQ was up 1.5 per cent to close at 7415.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.8 per cent and Frankfurt was up over 1 per cent.

Asian markets closed higher, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 2.6 per cent,Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 0.1 per cent higher and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.7 per cent.

The SPI futures are up 29 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 0.3 per cent higher 18 points to 6079.

Ex-Div

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) is paying 200 cents fully franked.
Milton Corporation (ASX:MLT) is paying 9 cents fully franked.
Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) is paying 11.08 cents unfranked.

Company news

Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) has announced its (group underlying) profits before tax rose 37 per cent per cent to $112 million for the six months to December 2018. Revenue increased by 10 per cent compared to the same time last year to over $3 billion, which was the highest revenue in the airline's history. Earnings rose 11 per cent to $370 million. The company says it's the strongest half year underlying result since the 2008 financial year. Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings(ASX:VAH) closed flat at 19.5 cents yesterday.

Commodities

Iron Ore has fallen 3.2 per cent to at US$87.65. It futures suggest a 4.1 per cent fall.
Gold has added$2.10 to US$1314 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.01 to US$15.70 an ounce.
Oil has risen $0.67 to US$53.08 a barrel.