Australian shares look set open higher this morning following strong leads from Wall Street on Friday. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones snapped a three-day run of losses as optimism about the prospects for a US-China trade agreement countered downbeat US and China manufacturing data. Meantime, tech stocks led the NASDAQ higher. The index has now risen for ten consecutive weeks.
US Economic News
Manufacturing in the US fell to a two year low of 54.2 in February below a forecast 55.5. Meantime, slowing inflation figures were well received by the market because it suggests the Federal Reserve will maintain its "patient" stance towards raising interest rates further this year.
Local Economic News
The week kicks off today when the ABS releases Business Indicators for the December quarter. Building approvals data are also due out. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank Board meets and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries releases the February new vehicle sales figures. On Wednesday the ABS releases the National Accounts and finally on Thursday the ABS is due to release the international trade and retail data.
To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed higher on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to close at 26,026, the S&P 500 added 0.7 per cent to close at 2,804 and the NASDAQ increased 0.8 per cent to close at 7595.
European markets closed higher on Friday: London’s FTSE added 0.5 per cent, Paris gained 0.5 per cent and Frankfurt increased 0.8 per cent.
Asian markets closed higher on Friday: Tokyo’s Nikkei gained over 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent while China’s Shanghai Composite was up 1.8 per cent.
Taking all of this into equation, the ASX futures are up 18 points. On Friday, the Australian share market closed 0.4 per cent higher or 24 points higher to 6193.
International contractor, CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) has entered into an investigation agreement with the US Department of Justice in relation to ongoing investigations into the Group's legacy International business. The investigations concern past possible breaches of its code of ethics by ex-employees responsible for the Leighton International business. The US investigation will complement the existing cooperation with the Australian Federal Police. Shares in Cimic Group (ASX:CIM) closed 0.12 per cent lower at $50.09 on Friday.
One Australian Dollar at 7:40AM was buying 71.14US cents, 53.70 Pence Sterling, 79.56 Yen and 62.50 Euro cents.
Iron ore futures suggest a 4.4 per cent gain.
Gold has dropped $16.90 to US$1299 an ounce.
Silver has shed $0.38 to US$15.26 an ounce.
Oil has lost $1.42 to US$55.80 a barrel.
Australian Finance Group (ASX:AFG) is paying 4.7 cents fully franked
Amcor Limited (ASX:AMC) is paying 29.78 cents unfranked
Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) is paying 150 cents fully franked
Bravura Solution Ltd (ASX:BVS) is paying 5.3 cents unfranked
Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP) is paying 36 cents fully franked
City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) is paying 5 cents fully franked
Collection House (ASX:CLH) is paying 4.1 cents fully franked
Coronado Global Resources Inc (ASX:CRN) is paying 30.2988 entsc unfranked
Cleanaway Waste Ltd (ASX:CWY) is paying 1.65 cents fully franked
Eumundi Group Ltd (ASX:EBG) is paying 3.2 cents fully franked
Finbar Group Limited (ASX:FRI) is paying 3 cents fully franked
HiTech Group Australia Limited (ASX:HIT) is paying 4 cents fully franked
Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO) is paying 3.5 cents fully franked
InvoCare Limited (ASX:IVC) is paying 19.5 cents fully franked
Kina Securities Ltd (ASX:KSL) is paying 4.25 cents unfranked
Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OML) is paying 7.5 cents fully franked
Propel Funeral Partners Ltd (ASX:PFP) is paying 5.7 cents fully franked
Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) is paying 12 cents fully franked
REA Group Limited (ASX:REA) is paying 55 cents fully franked
Sandfire Resources NL (ASX:SFR) is paying 7 cents fully franked