Outlook: ASX eyes gains before inflation data

Market Reports

The Australian share market is eyeing a positive start to the session after Wall Street widened its winning streak overnight. US stocks rose on the back of upbeat corporate earnings while European stocks were buoyed by deal making in the pharmaceutical sector and consumer confidence data.  
 
On the home front inflation figures will be in focus today when released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning. Analysts expect consumer prices to have firmed 0.8 per cent over the March quarter for an annual inflation rate above 3 per cent. Attention will also turn to China with HSBC poised to release the China flash Purchasing Managers' Index for April. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street extended gains on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average improved 65 points to close at 16,514, the S&P 500 increased 8 points to close at 1,880 and the Nasdaq advanced 40 points to close at 4,161. 
 
European markets started the trading week higher: London's FTSE 100 rose 57 points, France's CAC 40 rose 52 points and Germany's DAX rose 190 points.
 
Asian markets closed mixed yesterday: Japan’s Nikkei slipped 124 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 30 points, but China’s Shanghai Composite firmed 7 points.
 
Returning from a four-day Easter break the Australian share market lifted 0.5 per cent on Tuesday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 25 points yesterday to close at 5,479. On the futures market the SPI is pointing 22 points higher. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar has stayed steady from yesterday’s local close and at 7:20am was buying $US0.9364, 55.68 Pence Sterling, 96.11 Yen and 67.85 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Consumer price index for the March quarter
 
Company news
 
Singapore Telecommunications Limited’s (ASX:SGT) subsidiaries have inked agreements for almost $3 billion Australian dollars of credit facilities with international banks. The Singapore based telco says the funds will be put to general corporate purposes and refinancing of existing facilities. SingTel Group Chief Financial Officer Jeann Low says the company is pleased with the level of support and confidence demonstrated by bankers in Singapore and Australia. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications rose 0.32 per cent on Tuesday to close at $3.16 before the announcement was made. 
 
National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) has arranged to buy a self-storage complex in Townsville in Queensland for $17 million. The owner and operator of self-storage centres says the purchase is its first stand-alone acquisition and expected to settle at the end of May. Managing Director Andrew Catsoulis believes the property is located in an expected growth area within markets the company is keen to explore. Shares in National Storage REIT rose 0.85 per cent on Tuesday to close at $1.18 before the announcement was made. 

Ex-dividends

Ridley Corporation (ASX:RIC) paying a 1.5 cent 50 per cent franked dividend
 
Commodities 

Gold has lost $7.40 to $US1,281 an ounce for the June contract on Comex. 
Silver has firmed $0.01 to $19.36 for May. 
Copper has added $0.01 to $3.05 a pound. 
Oil has eased $2.24 to $US102.13 a barrel for May light crude in New York.