Biden inches closer to victory: Aus shares to open higher


Australian futures are indicating a rise at the open following strong results in US markets. Democratic candidate, Joe Biden continues to edge closer to victory in the US presidential race, but the fight is far from over, with 4 battleground swing states still to be counted. We will keep you posted as results roll in from Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Biden is currently leading in Nevada and if he can secure a win in that electorate, he is expected to take out the presidency. Meanwhile, a divided US Congress appears more and more likely. Wall Street rallied on the expectation of this outcome which would see Democrats retain their majority in the House, and Republicans retain their majority in the Senate. In practice, a divided Congress would stall changes to regulation and tax providing some short-term stability for the market. However, it may mean further delays for the country’s much needed Covid stimulus package and for any fresh reforms the new president plans to adopt. If Biden were to win, the divided Senate could hamper his proposed business tax increases, his plans to tighten regulation on the tech sector and his ability to take meaningful action on climate change.

Local economic news

Today, we are expecting AiGroup to release the Performance of Services index for October and the Reserve Bank of Australia to wrap up its Fed meeting and publish a statement of monetary policy.

Markets

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added almost 2 per cent to 28,390, the S&P 500 gained also almost 2 per cent to 3510 and the NASDAQ closed 2.6 per cent higher at 11,891.

European markets closed higher, London’s FTSE added 0.4 per cent, Paris gained 1.2 per cent and Frankfurt closed almost 2 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed higher, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 3.3 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 1.3 per cent higher.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.7 per cent gain.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 1.3 per cent higher at 6140.

Company news

New Zealand Media and Entertainment (ASX:NZME) has appointed Paul Maher to lead OneRoof. OneRoof has become New Zealand’s fastest growing multi-channel real estate business and property platform. Shares in New Zealand Media and Entertainment (ASX:NZME) closed 2.59 per cent higher at $0.60 yesterday.

Investors in Synalit Milk (ASX:SM1) are rejoicing after the company settled a long-running dispute over its factory in Pokeno. Uncertainty over the factory’s future had been weighing on the share price. Synalit began production at the $260 million infant formula plant last year. However, the property’s previous owners had placed covenants on the land, restricting its use to farming, forestry and lifestyle developments. When Synlait purchased the land, part of the purchase agreement included Synlait securing a release from the covenant on the land. Permission was only granted by the High Court in November of 2018, when construction was well underway. A neighbouring landowner took the decision to the Court of Appeal, which reinstated the covenants. Synlait Milk, New Zealand Industrial Park and Karl Ye have today announced that a settlement has been reached. Synalit says the settlement amount is confidential but is not material. Shares in Synalit Milk (ASX:SM1) closed 2.64 per cent lower at $4.79 yesterday.

Ex-dividend

CSR (ASX:CSR) is paying an interim dividend of 8.5 cent fully franked and a special dividend of 4 cents fully franked.
Janus Henderson (ASX:JHG) is paying 51.1073 cents unfranked.
Waterco (ASX:WAT) is paying 3 cents fully franked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:20 AM was buying 72.84 US cents, 55.44 Pence Sterling, 75.43 Yen and 61.61 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has added 4 cents to US$116.95.
Iron Ore futures suggest a further 1.02 per cent gain.
Gold has gained $55.00 to US$1951 an ounce.
Silver was up $1.63 to US$25.53 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.64 to US$38.51 a barrel.