Vodafone (ASX:HTA)/ TPG (ASX:TPM) merger receives FIRB approval: Aus shares to open higher


Following positive leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher. Australia’s national cabinet will meet today to discuss a timetable for reopening parts of the economy following the covid-19 shut down. The Bank of England warned overnight that the UK economy is on track to encounter its worst recession on record, and could contract as much as 25 per cent in the second quarter as the pandemic lockdown measures take their toll. In the US, a further 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of jobless claims since the mid-March lockdown to around 33.3 million – that equates to around 20 per cent of the US workforce.

Local economic news

We are expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia to release a statement on monetary policy at 11:30am AEST.

Markets

To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to close at 23,876 the S&P 500 added 1.2 per cent to 2881 and the NASDAQ closed 1.4 per cent higher at 8980.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE gained 1.4 per cent, Paris added 1.5 per cent and Frankfurt closed 1.4 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.3 per cent , Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.7 per cent , and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.09 per cent gain.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.4 per cent lower at 5,364.

Company news

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (50% owned by Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) ASX:HTA) has received the green light from the Foreign Investment Review Board to go ahead with its merger with TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM). Vodafone’s CEO expects the two companies to merge mid year and says that “Australia will soon have a third fully-integrated telecommunications company for the first time”. FIRB approval is a significant step which brings the merger closer to reality, leaving the consumer watchdog’s objections far behind. Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) (ASX:HTA) owns a 50 per cent stake in Vodafone Hutchison Australia. It closed 7.14 per cent higher at $0.15 yesterday.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:20 AM was buying 64.99 US cents, 52.62 Pence Sterling, 69.08 Yen and 60.02 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore futures suggest a 2.67 per cent gain.
Gold has gained $37.50 to US$1726 an ounce.
Silver has added $0.60 to US$15.62 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.49 to US$23.50 a barrel.