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Stocks improve, tax time approaches, Morrison takes to Facebook

Samantha Menzies
·Contributing editor
·3-min read
ASX looks set to open up, tax time approaches
ASX looks set to open up, tax time approaches

Good morning.

Here's everything you need to know in finance markets for today.

ASX: The Australian share market looks set to edge higher this morning despite a subdued night of trade on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 0.1 per cent or 6 points higher.

Wall Street: On Monday night the Dow Jones fell 0.15 per cent, the S&P 500 was flat, and the Nasdaq was down 0.35 per cent. Investors appear nervous ahead of the release of key US inflation data.

AUD: The Australian dollar is trading at 0.7622 to the US dollar as at 7.30am this morning.

Gold: The gold price tumbled lower overnight down 0.7 per cent to US$1,732.30 an ounce, according to CNBC. The precious metal came under pressure after bond yields firmed up.

Oil: According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is up 0.65 per cent to US$59.71 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has risen 0.55 per cent to US$63.30 a barrel. Middle East tension supported oil prices.

Aus Post: Former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate is set to face questions about her bitterly contested departure from the organisation at an much-anticipated inquiry. Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo will also appear before the hearing after Holgate levelled scathing accusations against him over the handling of her departure.

Vaccine: Scott Morrison has taken to Facebook to reassure Australians the government's COVID-19 vaccination program is safe and rolling out in a timeframe comparable to other countries. The prime minister launched the video message as the government faced a swathe of criticism over the pace of the rollout and concerns about the safety of the country's mainstay AstraZeneca vaccine.

Tax: While benefits and perks that can be a great way to incentivise staff, there are potential tax consequences that you need to consider. Here's how to manage fringe benefits tax (FBT) at tax time.

Women: The Australian Government has been slammed as failing to do enough to address sexual harassment, with warnings that lack of support for women could have fatal consequences. The Government last week announced its response to the Respect@Work report, more than a year after it was released to them, but the measures detailed in the response have been described as toothless.

Pandemic: Confusion and complacency in addressing COVID-19 means the pandemic is a long way from over but it can be brought under control in months with proven public health measures, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says. So far 780 million vaccines have been administered globally but measures including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing must be applied to reverse the trajectory.

Extradition: Chinese telecom firm Huawei says it has reached an agreement with HSBC in Hong Kong to obtain documents that its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou hopes will help prevent her extradition to the US. Meng, who was detained in Canada in 2018 at the behest of US authorities, has been fighting a legal battle over the last two years as the United States seeks to extradite her over allegations of bank fraud and violations of sanctions against Iran.

Property: Most Australians don’t realise that it takes most investors 20 to 30 years to develop financial freedom through property. The typical journey of successful property investors involves three phases or stages. Here's what you need to know.

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