ASX poised to open modestly higher ahead of Jobs Report

Stock Markets

Australian shares are set to open modestly higher today ahead of the January jobs report. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed marginally lower yesterday, falling 10.4 (-0.17%) points. The materials sector failed to neutralise losses from the consumer staples sector, which underperformed yesterday as Woolworths and Coles dropped 5% and 5.8% respectively on lackluster half year results.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's January policy meeting highlighted that the central bank will be patient with respect to further interest rate hikes. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed with modest gains and were up 63.12 (+0.24%) and 4.94 (+0.18%) respectively. The NASDAQ 100 closed marginally flat losing 4.27 (-0.06%) points overnight.

Locally, today's focus will be on corporate results as well as the January jobs report. ASX 200 futures are currently up 6.0 points. 

Today's data releases: Labour force January, Euro zone January CPI, Japan's February Nikkei manufacturing PMI

Commodities and Currencies

Brent and WTI crude prices hit their highest levels since late November, rising 1.04% and 1.48% respectively on hopes that the market will balance later this year. Crude futures have greatly benefitted from output cuts from top producers as well as US sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela. Brent and WTI crude are currently US$67.19 and US$56.92 per barrel respectively.

Iron ore prices were up 0.54% to US$85.21 per tonne.

The spot price of gold is currently down 0.14% and is now hovering around US$1339.14.

The AUD is currently flat at US71.64¢.

This article was written by Mithun Fernando – Investment Analyst, Rivkin Securities Pty Ltd. Enquiries can be made via mithun.fernando@rivkin.com.au or by phoning +612 8302 3633.