Democrats on track to win balance of power in Senate: Aus shares set to open higher

The ASX futures are pointing to a jump at the open following news that the Democrats are projected to win one seat in Georgia, and are narrowly holding the other as the votes are counted. These seats will determine the balance of power in the Senate. If the Democrats secure both seats, President Elect Biden will have stronger prospects of passing legislation. This would likely mean a larger fiscal stimulus package for the nation, greater regulation for the tech sector and increased infrastructure spending. In anticipation of a Democrat win in Georgia, the Dow and the S&P 500 made record gains last night as investors snapped up financial and industrial stocks. Tech stocks went the other way, with Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Facebook losing over 2 per cent during the session. Meanwhile, President Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol building and forced it into lockdown to prevent the count of the Electoral College votes which would affirm Joe Biden’s victory.

Local economic news

We are expecting the Australian Bureau of Statistics to release building approval data for November and figures on International Trade in Goods and Services for November.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4 per cent to 30829, the S&P 500 added almost 0.6 per cent to 3748 and the NASDAQ closed 0.6 per cent lower at 12741.

European markets closed higher, London’s FTSE gained 3.5 per cent, Paris added 1.2 per cent and Frankfurt closed 1.8 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.6 per cent higher.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 1.5 per cent gain.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 1.1 per cent lower at 6607.

Company news

Investment and superannuation platform operator, HUB24 (ASX:HUB) has released its bidder’s statement in relation to its attempt to snap up shares in Easton Investments. The off–market takeover bid is for 1 out of every 3 shares in the wealth management company, and offers $1.20 cash per share. The directors of Easton Investments unanimously intend to recommend that shareholders accept the offer, provided a superior proposal isn’t thrown into the mix. The bidder’s statement was silent on when the offer period would begin and end. Shares in Hub24 (ASX:HUB) closed 1.2 per cent lower at $22.04.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:30 AM was buying 77.99 US cents, 57.28 Pence Sterling, 80.34 Yen and 63.25 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has lost $29.80 to US$1925 an ounce.
Silver was down $0.30 to US$27.34 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.47 to US$48.22 a barrel.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.29 per cent rise.