The Australian share market looks set to open comfortably higher after a strong positive lead from Wall Street with the Dow heading for its first close above 26,000 points.
At 0700 AEDT on Thursday, the share price futures index was up 9 points, or 0.15 percent, at 5,969.
In economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases labor force data at 1130 AEDT.
In equities news, BHP Billiton is expected to release its half-year operational review, while Woodside Petroleum and Whitehaven Coal are slated to provide quarterly production reports.
The Australian market on Wednesday ended a grim session lower, with the materials sector heavily sold down on shifting commodity prices and expectations of a correction.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 32.8 points, or 0.54 percent, to 6,015.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 31.6 points or 0.51 percent, to 6,134.3 points.
Wall Street’s main indexes have all risen more than one percent – with the Dow again above the 26,000 mark – as investors’ expectations for higher earnings lift stocks across sectors.
The S&P 500 has rallied strongly in the new year, gaining 4.8 percent so far and posting only two sessions of losses. The Dow, after briefly hitting the 26,000 milestones on Tuesday, its fastest 1000-point rise, looks set to close above that mark for the first time.
More than three-quarters of the 36 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.
In late afternoon trading (1517 EST/0717 AEDT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.17 percent to 26,095.48, the S&P 500 had gained 1.03 percent to 2,805.12 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 1.14 percent to 7,305.76.
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,327.899 per fine ounce, from $US1,334.36 per fine ounce on Wednesday.
Gold futures notched a fifth session gain and another four-month high on Wednesday, with the dollar-denominated yellow metal getting a boost as the U.S. dollar failed to see much of a bounce back from recent lows.
Prices for the yellow metal eased back a bit from the settlement shortly after the release of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book.
IRON ORE: $72.70 -0.77(February contract)
Oil prices settled higher Wednesday to recoup some of their losses from a day earlier.
Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the Energy Information Administration on Thursday to report a decline of 425,000 barrels in last week’s U.S. crude supplies. That would mark a ninth straight weekly fall. February West Texas Intermediate crude rose 24 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $63.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling 0.9% Tuesday.
The U.S. dollar edged higher Wednesday after strong industrial production data.
The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of others, rose less than 0.1 percent to 84.47. The dollar rose against the euro and fluctuated against the Canadian currency.
Industrial production — a measure of output at factories, mines, and utilities — rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in December from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the index to rise 0.5%.
November industrial production was revised to a 0.1% decline from an originally reported gain of 0.2%.
UK shares edged down on Wednesday as a flurry of corporate news triggered sharp moves, including for contractor Interserve after the Financial Times reported the British government was monitoring it following the collapse of competitor Carillion.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended the session 0.39 percent lower at 7,725.43 points, underperforming the broader European market.
Within small market capitalizations, Interserve saw its shares tumble around 15 percent at the open then gradually recouped most of its losses, closing 0.4 percent lower.
European bourses opened lower, mirroring moves in Asia and Wall Street overnight, as earnings updates from companies weighed.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry and educational publishing company Pearson were among the top fallers after disappointing trading updates.
Their losses, along with weakness in the heavyweight financial and healthcare sectors, dragged the pan-European STOXX 600 while Germany’s DAX closed 0.47 percent lower at 13,183.96.
Asian equities stepped back from a record high as the region’s resource shares were knocked by falling oil and commodity prices.
Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.07 percent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.35 percent at 23,868.34.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose to a fresh closing peak on Wednesday, aided by continued strength in index heavyweight Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) which jumped more than 2 percent to 2-1/2-year highs.
The Hang Seng index closed up 0.25 per cent at 31,983.41. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.64 percent to 12,868.78.
China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.24 per cent at 3,444.67 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.24 percent to 4,248.12.
The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 0.6 per cent to 8,297.67.