Australian market set to open higher

The Australian market looks set to open higher following gains on Wall Street where indexes again hit record highs after the Federal Reserve head hinted it could soon raise its interest rate.

At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price futures index was up 20 points at 5,722.

Major Asian and European markets were mainly flat overnight, but Wall Street soared to new record highs at one point following Fed chair Janet Yellens comments to the US Sentate Banking Committee.

Dr Yellen echoed comments from other Fed officials, saying the central bank would likely need to raise interest rates at an upcoming meeting, although she expressed caution about the considerable economic policy uncertainty under the Trump administration.

Locally, in economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases December lending finance data.

In equities news, The a2 Milk Company posts an almost quadrupled first-half net profit which, at $NZ39.4 million (A36.9 million), is higher than its 2016 full-year result.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Seven West Media, CSL, Sonic Healthcare, INGHAM and Coles-owner Wesfarmers are among the other companies slated to post results on Wednesday.

The Australian market on Tuesday lost early gains to close slightly lower amid a sell-off in the healthcare sector and weakness from Asian markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 5.5 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,755.2 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was flat, down just two points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,810.9 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is lower against its US counterpart which gained strength after Dr Yellen's comments.

The local currency was trading at 76.51 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, from 76.74 on Tuesday.

It was higher against the yen, the euro and the pound sterling but also lower against the NZ dollar.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.51 US cents, from 76.74 on Tuesday

* 87.38 Japanese yen, from 86.98 yen

* 72.37 euro cents, from 72.27 cents

* 61.38 British pence, from 61.18 pence

* 106.38 New Zealand cents, from 106.72 NZ cents


* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.831pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.6839pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.185 (implying a yield of 2.815pct), from 97.23 (2.77pct) on Tuesday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.96 (2.04pct), from 98.01 ( 1.99pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)

Market Data

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