Outlook: ASX to march higher at the open

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to lift at the open, after the Wall Street rally gained momentum overnight on positive economic news. 
 
US economic news

The US Labour Department reported new applications for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week after a spike the week before.
 
Initial jobless claims sank by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 - the smallest number of applications in three weeks.
 
Figures

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63 points to close at 14,865, the S&P 500 added 6 points to close at 1,593 and the NASDAQ added 3 points to close at 3,300.
 
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE gained 29 points, Paris up by 32 points and Frankfurt is also up by 61 points.
 
Asian markets are mixed: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 67 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 261 but China’s Shanghai Composite was down by 7 points.
 
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 39 points up to finish at 5,007. On the futures market the SPI is 11 points up. 

Currencies
 
The Australian Dollar at 7:25AM was buying $US1.054 cents, 68.54 Pence Sterling, 105.12 Yen and 80.48 Euro cents.
 
Company news
 
Norton Gold Fields Limited (ASX:NGF) expects to increase production and continue cutting costs to help keep it on track to meet its targets.Norton's gold production rose 28 per cent in the March quarter, with the company recording its best result since being taken over by Zijin Mining in August 2012. Shares in Norton Gold closed flat at 18 cents
 
 
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) has seen traffic increase on its 495 Express Lanes road project in the United States after a disappointing start.
Transurban said in February that initial traffic on the 495 Express Lanes, which opened last November, had been below expectations.But the toll roads operator says more vehicles are now using the road. Shares in Transurban closed 0.46% higher yesterday at $6.53.

Ex-dividend
 
Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Limited (ASX:SOL) will pay 18 cents fully franked.
 
Commodities

Gold is up $6.10 to $US1,565 an ounce for the June contract on Comex. Silver is up $0.04 to $27.70 for May. Copper is up $0.02 at $3.43 a pound. Oil is down $1.13 at $US93.49 a barrel for May light crude in New York.