Outlook: Aus shares set to open higher

Market Reports

Following positive global leads, the Australian share market looks set to open higher today ending the week with a positive gain. 
 
US enonomic news

There are promising signs the US labour market is recovering. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to their lowest levels since the end of November. The Labor Department says the claims declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000. Non-farm jobs increased by 150,000 in February. 
 
Global Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Thursday : The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 62 points to close at 16,422, the S&P500 lifted 3 points to close at 1,877 and the Nasdaq lost 6 points to close at 4,352.
 
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE rose 13 points, Paris firmed 26 points and Frankfurt improved nearly 1 point.

Asian markets : Tokyo’s Nikkei added 237,  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 123 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 6 points.
 
 
The Australian share market closed lower on Thursday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index eased 0.34 of a point to finish at 5,446. On the futures market the SPI is 9 points higher.  
 
Currencies

Australian Dollar at 8.20AM was buying 90.94 cents, 54.32 Pence Sterling, 93.73 Yen and 65.62 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today

Housing Industry Association performance of construction index (PCI) for February
 
Company news

PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) says Managing Director Gary Stafford will step aside within 18 months to make room for someone to implement the next phase of the company’s strategy. 
 
Under Mr Stafford’s leadership, PanAust has grown from a junior explorer with a market cap of $20 million to a $1.1 billion producer.
 
The gold and copper company is faced with a difficult choice between a new project in Chile or going ahead with the huge Frieda River project in Papua New Guinea. 
 
The new managing director is expected to decide which project to pursue and then take it through full development phase. 
 
Shares in PanAust last traded 1.91 percent lower at $1.80.
 
Iron Ore Holdings Ltd. (ASX:IOH) says construction has commenced at the Iron Valley Project in Western Australia.

The development by Mineral Resources involves developing a mine and road haulage operation to export facilities at Port Hedland.

Iron Ore Holdings recently announced achieved a significant milestone with environmental approvement for its Buckland iron ore mine and the associated infrastructure
 
Shares in Iron Ore Holdings Ltd. (ASX:IOH) closed 1.04 per cent higher on Thursday at 97 cents.
 
Commodities

Gold is up $11.50 to $US1,351.80 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. Silver is up by 30 cents to $21.57 for May. Copper is up by 2 cents at $3.22 a pound. Oil is up 11 cents at US$101.56 a barrel for April light crude in New York.
 
Ex-Dividends
 
Air New Zealand Limited (ASX:AIZ)
Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI)
Bentley Capital Limited (ASX:BEL)
Brambles Limited (ASX:BXB)
Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX:CCV)
Codan Limited(ASX:CDA)
Contango MicroCap Limited(ASX:CTN)
EBOS Group Ltd.(ASX:EBO)
FlexiGroup Limited(ASX:FXL)
Gazal Corporation Limited(ASX:GZL)
ICSGlobal Ltd(ASX:ICS)
iiNet Limited(ASX:IIN)
Iress Ltd(ASX:IRE)
InvoCare Limited(ASX:IVC)
Jumbo Interactive Ltd(ASX:JIN)
Monadelphous Group Limited(ASX:MND)
Mastermyne Group Limited(ASX:MYE)
Noni B Limited(ASX:NBL)
Paragon Care Ltd.(ASX:PGC)
Perpetual Limited(ASX:PPT)
Reece Australia Limited(ASX:REH)
Sedgman Limited(ASX:SDM)
Schaffer Corporation Limited(ASX:SFC)
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH)
Shine Corporate Ltd(ASX:SHJ)
Seymour Whyte Ltd(ASX:SWL)
Seven West Media Ltd(ASX:SWM)
Tassal Group Limited(ASX:TGR)
Trade Me Group Ltd(ASX:TME)
UXC Limited (ASX:UXC)
Zicom Group Limited (ASX:ZGL)