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Aust shares look set to open higher

Chris Hutchings

The Australian share market looks set to open modestly higher amid elevated risk sentiment

The Australian share market looks set to open modestly higher after US equities found support amid elevated risk sentiment with the S&P 500 approaching its highest ever level.

At 0700 AEDT on Thursday, the share price futures index was up 12 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 6,010.

In the US, the S&P 500 has approached its highest ever close as a rally in videogame makers help offset doubts about an ambitious Republican plan to cut corporate taxes and weakness in banks.

Apple rose 0.65 per cent, putting it on track to end the day with a market value above $US900 billion for the first time.

In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.05 per cent, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.13 per cent, and the Nasdaq had lifted 0.28 per cent.

Locally, in economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release September's housing finance figures.

In equities news, James Hardy Industries is slated to release half-year results while Optus is expected to post second quarter results, Janus Henderson its third quarter results and Goodman Group its first quarter update.

Flight Centre holds its annual general meeting in Brisbane.

The Australian market on Wednesday closed in positive territory though hardly changed, remaining at its highest level in almost a decade after a steady session in which Commonwealth Bank shone and iron ore miners lost ground but proved resilient to a fall in China's imports of commodities.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose two points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,016.3 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 1.7 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,089.1 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has also benefited from the elevated risk sentiment and has climbed against the greenback and a host of other key currencies.

The local currency was trading at 76.83 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Thursday, from 76.53 on Wednesday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.83 US cents, from 76.53 on Wednesday

* 87.40 Japanese yen, from 87.11 yen

* 66.23 euro cents, from 66.00 euro cents

* 58.57 British pence, from 58.14 pence

* 110.60 NZ cents, from 110.69 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,282.17 per fine ounce, from $US1,277.81 per fine ounce on Wednesday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8469pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.5253pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.39 (implying a yield of 2.61pct), from 97.41 (implying a yield of 2.59pct) on Wednesday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.03 (1.97pct), from 98.05 (1.95pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)