The Australian share market looks set to defy negative leads from the US and open higher. The British pound has taken a hit. This comes as European Union officials grant Britain a six months extension to the Brexit negotiations. Australian citizen, Julian Assange, has been arrested and taken from the Ecuadorian embassy. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison says the Australian government will not make any special representations for the whistleblower and WikiLeaks founder. These comments come despite the government's commitment to protect whistleblowers under the Commonwealth's new Treasury Law Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protection) Bill which was passed by both houses of parliament in February. This is becoming a live issue following the Royal Commission into Banking and coming into the election, which is set to take place on the 18 May.
Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are up 21 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 25 points or 0.4 per cent lower at 6,199.
Local economic news
We are expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia to release to release February data on credit and debit cards.
Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.1 per cent lower at 26,143, the S&P 500 closed flat at 2,888 and the NASDAQ fell 0.2 per cent to 7,947.
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE fell 0.1 per cent, Paris added 0.7 per cent and Frankfurt gained 0.3 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.9 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 1.6 per cent.
Ramsay Health Care's (ASX:RHC) French subsidiary, Ramsay Générale de Santé has launched a €625 million renounceable rights issue. This is part of the previously disclosed intention to refinance its purchase of Capio AB. The subscription period for the rights issue completed on 5 April with a total subscription rate of 90.66 per cent. Ramsay and Ramsay Générale de Santé's other major shareholder, Prévoyance Dialogue du Crédit Agricole, each separately and irrevocably committed to subscribe for a minimum of €550 million in the new shares. These shares have increased Ramsay’s equity ownership in Générale de Santé from 50.91 to 52.53 per cent. Shares is Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) closed 0.23 per cent lower yesterday at $63.86.
Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ) is paying 20 cents fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 7:25 AM was buying 71.26 US cents, 54.59 Pence Sterling, 79.56 Yen and 63.34 Euro cents.
Iron Ore futures are flat.
Gold has dropped $18.10 to US$1296 an ounce.
Silver has fallen $0.32 to US$14.92 an ounce.
Oil was $0.86 lower at US$63.79 a barrel.