Outlook: ASX to follow global market rally

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks to follow a global market rally overnight as fears receded over a potential conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Rebounding from Monday’s losses Wall Street spiked on Tuesday and the S&P 500 hit a new intra-day high after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin defused the threat of military action. Though equity markets responded well to President Putin’s assurances money moved out of safe haven assets with both gold and oil prices retreating from Monday’s highs.
Closer to home Australians will have their eyes on the nation’s growth figures with fourth quarter GDP data due before noon. The mining sector will be focused on Chinese data with the HSBC-Markit purchasing managers’ index due out later today. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) is among the companies trading ex-dividend today. 
Global markets
Wall Street’s major indexes ran up more than 1 per cent each on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 228 points to close at 16,396, the S&P 500 soared 28 points to close at 1,874 and the NASDAQ gained 75 points to close at 4,352.
European markets also advanced on Tuesday: London's FTSE 100 Index lifted 115 points, France's CAC 40 added 105 points and Germany's DAX improved 230 points.
Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday: Japan’s Nikkei added 69 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 157 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 4 points.
The Australian share market clawed out of a sluggish start to end 0.3 per cent higher after the RBA’s interest rate decision on Tuesday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 15.9 points yesterday to close at 5,400. On the futures market the SPI is 43 points stronger. 
The Australian dollar at 8:30AM was buying $US0.8952, 53.72 Pence Sterling, 91.54 Yen and 65.19 Euro cents.
Economic news due out today 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: National Accounts including gross domestic product data for the December quarter 
Australian Industry Group: Performance of Services Index (PSI) for February
Company news
The chief of News Corp (ASX:NWS, NASDAQ:NWSA) Rupert Murdoch, has risen up in the ranks of the latest Forbes Magazine rich list. The wealth of the media magnate and his family ballooned to $US13.5 billion as he hiked up 13 places to the list's 78th richest. Australia's richest person mining magnate Gina Rinehart moved 10 places lower on the list to the 46th richest over the year despite boosting her wealth to almost $US20 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates jumped to the top of the Forbes ladder with a fortune of $US76 billion. Shares in News Corp firmed 0.4 per cent on Tuesday to close at $19.93. 
Shares in Envestra Limited (ASX:ENV) fell to yesterday’s worst performing stock on the benchmark index after doubt emerged over its 33 per cent shareholder APA Group’s (ASX:APA) takeover bid for the gas distributor. While Envestra has entered into a scheme agreement for APA’s proposed takeover a significant shareholder has signalled its resistance to the deal. The deal must secure 75 per cent of shareholder votes, excluding APA’s, for the transaction to proceed. Shares in Envestra fell 8.73 per cent on Tuesday to close at $1.15.

Austock Group Limited (ASX:ACK)
Bell Financial Group (ASX:BFG)
Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL)
Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP)
Calliden Group (ASX:CIX)
Carsales.Com Limited (ASX:CRZ)
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL)
Twenty-First FOX Inc (ASX:FOX)
Fiducian Portfolio Services (ASX:FPS)
Gale Pacific Limited (ASX:GAP)
Hunter Hall International (ASX:HHL)
Independence Group (ASX:IGO)
Mighty River Power (ASX:MYT)
NRW Holdings Limited (ASX:NWH)
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
Select Harvests (ASX:SHV)
Tox Free Solutions (ASX:TOX)
Village Roadshow Limited (ASX:VRL)

After jumping almost $US30 on Monday the price of gold has retreated $US12.40 to $US1,337.90 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has dropped $0.26 to $21.22 for May. 
Copper has added $0.04 to $3.21 a pound. 
Oil has fallen $1.59 to $US103.33 a barrel for April light crude in New York.