Wall Street struggles to keep momentum: ASX poised to open higher


The Australian share market is poised to open higher following weak leads from Wall St. The major indices responded to US Federal Reserve minutes showing their commitment to support the economy with low-interest rates and their bond-buying program for the meantime. Investors also responded to consumer credit data which rose by US$27.58 billion in February beating market expectations. This is the biggest monthly gain in consumer credit since November 2017.

Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 per cent to close at 33,446, the S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 4,080 and the tech heavy NASDAQ closed 0.1 per cent lower at 13,689.

European markets which closed mixed. London’s FTSE gained 0.9 per cent from continued optimism from the vaccine rollout across the UK. Paris lost 0.01 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.2 per cent lower.

Asian markets which closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.12 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.9 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.1 per cent lower.

S&P/ASX 200

Yesterday, the local market extended gains for the fourth straight session yesterday hitting a seven week high and closing 0.1 per cent of its best close in 13 months to close 0.6 per cent higher at 6,928. Energy, property and technology stocks led the session as investors continued to buy into sectors most affected by the pandemic and on the backdrop of positive economic news. The Australian Industry Group Performance of Construction Index climbed to a 16 year high of 61.8 points in March, as builders hurried towards commencing residential projects before the final HomeBuilder deadline. The IHS Markit services purchasing manager index rose to 55 points in March. With both indexes, readings above 50 indicates an expansion of activity however, consumer confidence dropped 4.6 points or 4.1 per cent to 107.7 points last week yet still 64.9 per cent higher compared to March last year.

The SPI futures are pointing to 0.5 per cent gain.

Company news

Air-services company Pel-Air, a subsidiary of REX (ASX:REX) reached an agreement with New South Wales Ambulance to include two jets to enter service in September 2023. The two 2 Pilatus PC 24 jets will replace two of the five King Air 350 aircraft for the rest of the 10-year operational phase. With regional airports likely to have a shorter runway, the change in jets aims to assist in take-off performance to transport medical staff and patients throughout NSW regional communities. Shares in Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) closed 0.32 per cent higher at $1.59 yesterday.

Ex-Div

ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) is paying 29 cents fully franked
Gowing Bros. Limited (ASX:GOW) is paying 4 cents fully franked
SDI Limited (ASX:SDI) is paying 1.5 cents fully franked
Universal Store (ASX:UNI) is paying 5 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:20 AM was buying 76.13 US cents, 55.44 Pence Sterling, 83.65 Yen and 64.13 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has gained 1.6 per cent to US$173.63.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.9 per cent fall.
Gold has lost $1.40 to US$1742 an ounce.
Silver has added $0.02 to US$25.25 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.44 to US$59.77 a barrel.