The Australian share market looks set to open more than half a per cent higher and possibly at the 6,000 point mark as strong positive sentiment returns to markets with Wall Street closing well above one per cent higher.
At 0700 AEDT on Monday, the share price futures index was up 31 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 6,004.
In economic news on Monday, the CoreLogic capital city house price survey is due out, and in Melbourne, CEDA hosts Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris to outline a draft report on competition in Australia’s financial system.
In equities news, Billabong, QBE Insurance, BlueScope Steel, Ardent Leisure, Vodafone and Select Harvests are expected to announce their results.
The Australian market on Friday closed with solid gains after a strong line-up of company earnings results briefly drove stocks above 6,000 points before closing just shy of the mark and up 1.6 per cent for the week.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 48.9 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 5,999.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 47.5 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 6,105.2 points.
US stocks have rallied, lifted by gains in technology stocks and a retreat in Treasury yields as the Federal Reserve eased concerns about the path of interest rate rises in 2018.
The US central bank, looking past the recent stock market sell-off and inflation concerns, said it expected economic growth to remain steady and saw no serious risks on the horizon that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.
Investors largely expect the Fed to raise rates three times this year, beginning with its next meeting in March, the first under new chair Jerome Powell. Traders currently see a 95.5 per cent chance of a quarter-percentage-point hike in March, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.39 per cent, to 25,309.99, the S&P 500 gained 1.60 per cent, to 2,747.30 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.77 per cent, to 7,337.39.
Gold prices inched lower with the dollar climbing.
IRON ORE: $78.08 +0.53(March contract)
A surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles and halted production at a Libyan oil field helped lift oil prices, extending their rally to a second week.
Oil prices have climbed more than 7% in the last two weeks — the biggest two-week gain since November.
The U.S. dollar edged up against some major rivals, helping to notch a weekly rise for the greenback.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index tacked on 0.2% at 89.882, after reaching an intraday high of 90.06, according to FactSet. A gain marks its third in four sessions. For the week, it’s on rose about 0.9%. The index has shown a weekly gain in three of the past four weeks.
The broader WSJ U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.1% at 83.62, having gained 0.7% on the week.
Against the Japanese yen the dollar traded rather rangebound, inching up to last buy Y106.83 compared with late Thursday’s level of Y106.75. Investors have been watching for a sustained move above Y107 to see whether relative dollar strength can stick versus the Japanese currency. On the week, the dollar gained 0.5% against the yen.
The Australian dollar is higher against its US counterpart despite the US dollar lifting amid expectations of a more aggressive US Federal Reserve.
At 0635 AEDT on Monday, the Australian dollar was worth 78.42 US cents, up from 78.24 US cents on Friday.
European shares ended the day in positive territory after a choppy session, posting a slim weekly gain as investors digested a flurry of company results that included disappointing updates from Royal Bank of Scotland and Valeo.
The STOXX 600 closed up 0.23 per cent at 381.22 points and ended the week on a 0.16 per cent rise, a second gain in a row since a market correction in early February.
RBS declined 4.8 per cent after posting its first full-year profit since 2007. Traders said the underlying result missed expectations, while the lack of an update on a settlement with the US Department of Justice for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities also weighed.
Germany’s DAX closed 0.18 per cent higher at 12,483.79.
The UK’s top share index dipped on Friday after bank RBS and airline operator IAG tumbled following their results, sending the FTSE 100 to a slight weekly loss.
Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index closed down 0.11 per cent at 7,244 points.
In Asian trading overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.9 per cent on Friday to add to the previous week’s 3.9 per cent gain.
It is still down more than 4 per cent in February so far, however, after global equity markets were mauled at the start of February by worries that inflation was picking up.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.7 per cent, to 21,892.78.
Hong Kong stocks rose on Friday, capping a holiday-shortened trading week, as main indexes managed to recover much of the damage done during the recent rout.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.97 per cent, to 31,267.17, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.7 per cent, to 12,735.06.
China shares extended their rebound, shrugging off Beijing’s seizure of high-flying conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group amid signs the government is once again supporting the country’s stock markets after their recent rout.
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4 per cent, to 8,301.72.