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Aust shares look set to open higher

Chris Hutchings

Australian shares look set to open almost half a per cent higher after Wall Street rallies strongly and risk appetite returns to global equity markets.

At 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the share price futures index was up 27 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,042.

All major international equity markets have climbed decisively in the offshore session, with Asian indexes up more than one per cent, London up more than half a per cent and the US following the trend with one per cent-plus gains.

US stocks have risen amid expectations that new Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will stick to a planned gradual series of interest rate rises.

The Fed boss faces questions from both houses of the US Congress in a semi-annual testimony starting on Tuesday (US time), his first major set piece since he took over from Janet Yellen earlier in February.

In late trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.64 per cent, the S&P 500 was up 1.13 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.14 per cent.

Locally, in economic news on Tuesday, the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence weekly survey is due out.

In equities news, Cabcharge, Costa Group Holdings, and Caltex Australia are expected to announce results.

Also, the hearing into the Seven Network and Amber Harrison contempt of court case is expected to be heard in Sydney.

The Australian market on Monday ended higher, with the benchmark index closing above 6,000 points for the first time since February 5, supported by solid company results and rising bank stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 42.4 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 6,042.2 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed up 40.9 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 6,146.1 points

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is lower against its US counterpart despite the greenback dipping after early gains.

The local currency was trading at 78.50 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, from 78.78 on Monday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.50 US cents, from 78.78 on Monday

* 83.94 Japanese yen, from 83.92 yen

* 63.77 euro cents, from 63.91 euro cents

* 56.20 British pence, from 56.20 pence

* 107.35 NZ cents, from 107.39 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,332.50 per fine ounce, from $US1,339.81 per fine ounce on Monday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9551pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7179pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.240 (implying a yield of 2.760pct), from 97.235 (implying a yield of 2.765pct) on Monday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.93, unchanged.

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