Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Local bourse poised for flat opening

Australian shares are expected to open slightly higher on Thursday, lifted by positive economic news in Europe and optimism that the US Federal Reserve will continue its efforts to bolster the world's biggest economy.

What you need2know:

SPI futures up 8 points to 5,426.
AUD fetching 95.19 US cents, 93.97 yen, 70.41 euro cents, 59.19 pence On Wall St, Nasdaq -0.2%, Dow Jones +0.8% to a record close, S&P500 +0.4% In Europe, Eurostoxx +0.7%, FTSE100 -0.1%, CAC +0.8%, DAX +0.4%
Spot gold gains 0.5% to $US1317.93 an ounce Brent oil rises 0.1% to $US105.41 per barrel Iron ore gains 0.2% to $US137.10 per tonne

What's on today

Investors will be watching October's employment figures and PCI construction data.


Among the companies holding annual meetings today are Kingsrose Mining, Mighty River Power, Fairfax Media, Wesfarmers and Cooper Energy.

Stocks to watch

Deutsche Bank is maintaining a "hold" rating for Ramsay Health Care, despite a rise in health insurance premiums from April in 2014 that analyst David Low says will stoke fears of a decline in health fund membership.

Credit Suisse has upgraded its rating for PanAust from "neutral" to "outperform" following the company's acquisition of Glencore Xstrata's 80 per cent stake in the Frieda River copper and gold project in Papua New Guinea for $125 million.

Three of Australia's most prominent economists are sticking to what is increasingly becoming a minority view; that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut official interest rates in 2014 despite the risk of overheating property.

Saul Eslake , Bill Evans and Alan Oster – with about a century of professional experience between them – say the RBA will need to deliver extra stimulus by using rate cuts to bring down the dollar and spur investment as the resources boom ends.

In currency markets overnight, the Australian dollar traded in a narrow range. It is at US95.20¢ at 5.29am AEST, compared with Wednesday's local close of US95.18¢.

United States

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average put on 127.19 points to close at a record of 15,745.41 on bets that the Fed's view that the US economy remains weak will extend its stimulus efforts. The S&P 500 is slightly higher and the Nasdaq has slipped.

Microsoft had the biggest positive influence on the S&P 500 after Reuters reported that the company narrowed its CEO search to about five people. The shares rose, touching their highest level since June 2001.

Tesla Motors slumped after the electric car maker forecast a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and its third-quarter Model S deliveries disappointed some analysts.

Twitter is expected to price its initial offering at the close of trading today between $US25 and $US28 a share, according to The Wall Street Journal's online edition. Trading is expected to begin tomorrow.


In Europe, the CAC 40 rose 0.79 per cent and the DAX added 0.35 per cent. The FTSE 100 closed down 0.08 per cent.

German factory orders increased 3.3 per cent in September, according to a government report, far higher than forecast.

Markit's October Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of activity in both the services and manufacturing sectors slipped to 51.9 in October from 52.2 in September.

On the commodities front, gold is set to snap a seven-day losing streak, its worst in almost six months. Spot gold was up 0.4 per cent at $US1316.76 an ounce midday in New York.

Cash copper moved to a premium to forward contracts, putting pressure on a large short-position holder, traders said. Three-month copper on the LME traded at $US7182 a tonne at 1523 GMT, up from a close of $US7161 on Tuesday. The metal used in power and construction has shed 9.4 per cent so far this year.

What happened yesterday

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index edged up 1.8 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 5433.8. The market was buoyed by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which rose to a new high following its bumper first-quarter profit results.

Australian Financial Review, Reuters
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