Outlook: ASX set to extend gains

Market Reports

The Australian Share Market looks set to open higher on the back of yesterdays substantial gains after sharp rises in both US and European markets following the passing of legislation designed to prevent the US fiscal cliff, on the back of months of market uncertainty.

Figures

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 308 points to close at 13,413, the S&P500 added 36 points to close at 1,462 and the Nasdaq went up by 93 points to close at 3,112.

European markets closed up: London’s FTSE added 130 points, Paris gained 93 and Frankfurt finished 166 points higher.

Asian markets closed higher as well: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 655 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 72 and China’s Shanghai Composite added 36 points.

The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 57 points up to finish at 4,706. On the futures market the SPI is 28 points up.

Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar is also looking stronger, at 8:30AM it was buying $US1.05 cents, 64.62 Pence Sterling, 91.61 Yen and 79.66 Euro cents.

Company news

Wilson HTM Investment Group Limited (ASX:WIG) and suitor Mariner Corporation Limited (ASX:MCX) have become engaged in a publicised dispute surrounding Mariner’s all scrip bid for the struggling Broking Company. Investment Company Mariners accuses Wilson of grossly underestimating the amount of shareholder acceptances it received for its bid, disputing the miserly numbers made public and seeking legal advice as well as raising concerns with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and ASX. For its part, Wilson’s board says the bid from Mariners remains highly conditional. Shares in Wilson HTM closed 6.25 per cent higher yesterday at $0.34. 

Molopo Energy Limited (ASX:MPO) CEO Tim Granger has told shareholders he is disappointed the oil and gas explorer’s year and exit rate will not meet its initial forecast, and frustrated by lower than anticipated initial production rates from drilling in its Fiesta well in Texas. Despite this, Mr Granger says the true value of Molopo’s high quality assets is yet to be realised, and will be unlocked through prudent investment in the assets. Shares in Molopo closed 1.79 per cent up yesterday at $0.285.

Ex-dividends

Programmed Maintenance Services Limited ( ASX:PRG) will pay a 5 cent dividend, fully franked.

Commodities

Gold is up $13.00 to $US1,689 an ounce for the February contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.78 to $31.02 for March.
Copper is $0.08 higher at $3.74 a pound.
Oil is up $1.30 at US$93.12 a barrel for February light crude in New York.