Overseas leads point to positive start

The Australian sharemarket is set for a positive open today as world markets rose on a better than expected start to corporate earnings season in the United States.

Aluminium maker Alcoa beat expectations with its fourth quarter earnings late on Tuesday, setting a positive tone for several weeks of earnings reports.

Investors pay close attention to Alcoa’s results and forecasts because the aluminium it makes is used in so many industries including construction and manufacturing.

The ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was six points higher at 4,684.

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 17.9 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 4,708.1 and the broader All Ordinaries index gained 17.8 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 4,730.1.AAP

What you need to knowSPI futures up 6 points to 4684In the US, the S&P500 has added 0.3% to 1,461.01In Europe, London’s FTSE gained 0.7% to 6098.65Germany’s DAX finished 0.3% higher at 7720.47Gold slipped to $US1656.85 an ounceNY Oil down at $US93.10 per barrelIron ore flat at $US158.50AUD fetching $US1.0512

In economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases building approvals data for November.

Commonwealth Bank economist Gareth Aird said it typically takes a few quarters for interest rate cuts to spur building approvals.

“Our forecast for this month is a rise in building approvals of 12 per cent. We expect to see a sustained pick-up in housing investment and therefore total dwelling approvals over 2013. Our forecast is for around 160,000 new dwellings to be approved in 2013,” Mr Aird said.

Global markets

US stocks edged up on Wednesday after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with better-than-expected revenue and an encouraging outlook for the year.

Traders have been cautious as the current quarter was shaping up like the previous one, with companies lowering expectations in recent weeks, said James Dailey, portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund.

“So the big question and focus is on revenue, and Alcoa had better-than-expected revenue,” which calmed the market a little, Dailey said.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 59.47 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 13,388.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 3.86 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 1,461.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.93 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 3,106.74.

Britain’s blue-chip stocks hit their highest level since May 2008 on Wednesday, with gains led by banking stocks and miners after a reassuring start to the US earnings season boosted demand for riskier assets.

The FTSE 100 broke through a near two-year high at 6,105.77 in afternoon trade, following a strong opening on Wall Street, peaking at 6,112.27, before settling to close up 45.02 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,098.65.

Japan’s Nikkei average rose on Wednesday, as a halt in the yen’s gains prompted investors to buy shares of exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor who would gain from a more competitive currency.

The Nikkei gained 0.7 per cent to 10,578.57, breaching above its five-day moving average at 10,553.79, after trading as low as 10,398.61 earlier in the session.


Gold was down marginally on Wednesday, losing early gains as a stronger dollar weighed against background support from firmer equities markets. Spot gold edged down to $US1,657.35 an ounce, while US gold futures for December delivery were down 0.1 per cent at $US1,659.60.

Oil slipped on Wednesday as increasing US production and rising crude oil and refined products inventories applied pressure.

Brent February crude fell 48 cents to $US111.46 a barrel. Brent’s $US111.11 session low was only 2 cents under the 100-day moving average of $111.13. US February crude was down 22 cents at $US92.93 a barrel, having traded from $US92.68 to $US93.65.

BusinessDay with wires

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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