S&P 500 resets record high amid vaccine setback & US inflation data: ASX to rise


The Australian share market is set to open higher following mixed trade on Wall St. The US FDA recommended a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following blood clot fears. Nevertheless, the S&P 500 closed at a record high, despite setbacks to reopening shares linked to the economic recovery of sectors like airlines, hotels and cruise lines. Bulls charged the technology sector ahead of reporting season this week. In Asia, China’s exports in March rose 30.6 per cent from a year ago according to their customs agency. Economists expected exports to grow 35.5 per cent. Chinese imports jumped 38.1 per cent from the year before, which was above expectations. European markets closed slightly higher on Tuesday as investors monitored key economic data ahead of their corporate earnings.  Oil prices rose on the back of strong Chinese import data, with OPEC raising their growth forecast this year. The bond market edged lower, with the 10-year Treasury yield dipping to 1.62 per cent. This was not a surprise as yield prices are inversely related to the price of equities. Gold prices bounced back while the greenback fell to three-week lows.
 
Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to 33,677, the S&P 500 gained 0.3 per cent to 4142 and the NASDAQ closed 1.1 per cent higher at 13,996.

European markets closed slightly higher: London’s FTSE added 0.02 per cent, Paris gained 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.1 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.5 per cent lower

Yesterday, the ASX closed 2.9 points or 0.04 per cent higher to 6,977 points after a see saw session, unable to recover losses from Monday. Despite this, the index managed to stay within the range of its 13 month record high recorded last Thursday.

Looking ahead, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.3 per cent gain.

In local economic news

The Westpac consumer sentiment report for April is due out today. This release will provide an insight into how consumer confidence has been impacted by the disruption. During April there was a snap lockdown in Brisbane with JobKeeper ending at the end of March, while on the other hand labour force figures show that employment is at record highs amid rising house prices.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the building activity for the December quarter. The Australian government’s Homebuilder scheme and other incentives like the First Home Owner grant have assisted in new builds.

In company news that broke after market close yesterday

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has appointed Meg O’Neill to be Acting CEO from 20 April this year. This follows the announcement in December last year of the imminent retirement of CEO Peter Coleman. Mr Coleman is set to retire on 3 June after serving as CEO for over a decade. Ms O’Neill joined the company in 2018 and is the current Executive Vice President, Development and Marketing. Prior to joining Woodside, she held senior roles for ExxonMobil, including regional production and development leadership positions. Shares in Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.3 per lower at $24.26 yesterday.

Ex-Div

Future Generation Investment Company Ltd (ASX:FGX) is paying 2.6 cents fully franked
WAM Leaders Limited (ASX:WLE) is paying 3.5 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:35 AM was buying 76.44 US cents, 55.60 Pence Sterling, 83.36 Yen and 63.98 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has lost 0.8 per cent to US$173.25
Iron Ore futures are pointing to 0.1 per cent loss.
Gold has added $14.90 to US$1748 an ounce.
Silver was up $0.56 to US$25.43 an ounce.
Oil was up $0.48 to US$60.18 a barrel.