Outlook: Wall St rally to spark ASX gains

Market Reports

A rally on Wall Street looks set to spark some gains on the Australian share market this morning. US markets advanced after the US Federal Reserve suggested it is not in a rush to hike interest rates. Across commodity markets the price of iron ore has hit fresh five year lows while the price of oil has jumped.
 
Local companies holding annual general meeting today include National Australian Bank Limited (ASX:NAB), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC), Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) and DuluxGroup Limited (ASX:DLX)
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street moved higher on Wednesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.7 per cent to close at 17,357, the S&P 500 soared 2 per cent to close at 2,013 and the Nasdaq climbed 2.1 per cent to close at 4,644.
 
European markets ended mixed ahead of the Fed’s statement: London's FTSE 100 firmed 0.1 per cent, France's CAC 40 added 0.5 per cent and Germany's DAX lost 0.2 per cent.
 
Asian markets finished mixed on Wednesday: Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.4 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 1.3 per cent.
 
The Australian share market snapped a run of losses and rose 0.2 per cent on Wednesday: The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 10 higher at 5,162 yesterday. On the futures market the SPI is 62 points stronger. 
 
Currencies 
 
The Australian dollar at 8:20am was buying $US0.8118, 52.15 Pence Sterling, 96.4 Yen and 65.81 Euro cents.

Economic news due out today 
 
Reserve Bank of Australia: Quarterly bulletin 
 
Company news
 
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has confirmed it is in talks with Pacnet to potentially acquire the undersea cable company. Responding to media speculation the telco lodged the statement shortly before the end of the trading day. The reports had suggested Pacnet’s owners were targeting a valuation of more than $1 billion in June. Shares in Telstra Corporation rose 0.7 per cent to close at $5.76 on Wednesday. 
 
Amcom Telecommunications Limited (ASX:AMM) and Vocus Communications Limited (ASX:VOC) have agreed to a $650 million merger. The scheme implementation agreement will see Vocus will acquire all the shares is does not already own in Amcom to create Australia’s third biggest telco. The deal remains subject to Amcom shareholder and court approvals. Shares in Amcom Telecommunications rose 0.43 per cent to close at $2.36 on Wednesday.
 
Ex-dividends

Crowe Horwath Australasia Limited (ASX:CRH) paying a 5.7 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities 

Gold has dropped $7.00 to $US1,187 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. 
Silver has slipped $0.02 to $15.73 for March. 
Copper has lifted $0.01 to $2.87 a pound.
Oil has dipped $0.05 to $US56.21 a barrel for January light crude in New York.

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