The Australian share market is expected to open stronger on Monday on the back of higher metals prices in London and stronger-than-expected earnings results from US bellwethers Citigroup and General Electric.
Strong gains in base metal prices on the London Metals Exchange on Friday, including a four per cent rise in the zinc price, should lead our market higher, CommSec chief economist Craig James said.
“Investors are becoming more positive about the prospects for the global economy,” he said.
Despite profit-taking on Friday, Wall Street closed the week higher as companies posted earnings that met expectations.
Banking giant Citigroup turned in a first quarter profit of $US1.6 billion ($A2.22 billion), while General Electric still beat expectations despite first quarter profit falling 35 per cent to $US2.89 billion ($A4 billion).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average firmed 5.90 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 8,131.33 on Friday, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 increased 4.30 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 869.60.
The tech-laden Nasdaq composite added 2.63 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 1,673.07.
“Our market could be up between 15 points and 20 points at the start of trade,” Mr James said, buoyed by a higher oil price and the price of gold holding steady.
Profit-takers caused the Australian share market to close flat on Friday despite gains by major resources stocks and retailers, Mr James said.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was one point or 0.03 per cent stronger at 3776.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 2.5 points, 0.07 per cent, to 3728.1.
On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the June share price index contract was 20 points weaker at 3767.
This week all eyes will be on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) April board meeting minutes, published on Tuesday, the same day as RBA governor Glenn Stevens addresses the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
“That will be keenly watched by investors probably more so than the inflation figures on Wednesday,” Mr James said.
On Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the March quarter, after releasing the March Producer Price Index on Monday.
“(The CPI figures) will probably have little influence on policy at this time. The RBA will still be leaning in favour of rate cuts,” Mr James said.
New motor vehicle sales for March will be reported by the ABS on Thursday.
In corporate news, Rio Tinto will hold its annual meeting in Sydney after holding it in London last Wednesday.
Rio Tinto’s planned $US19.5 billion ($A26.8 billion) deal with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) to increase Chinalco’s stake in the resources giant to 18 per cent was met with shareholder anger in London.
The Chinalco investment would help Rio Tinto pay down some of its massive $US40 billion ($A54.98 billion) debt.
But investors attending the London meeting are worried Chinalco will exert too much influence over Rio Tinto if the deal is approved by Australian, US and Chinese regulators.
Company meetings are also scheduled for Bell Financial Group on Wednesday, and Caltex Australia Ltd on Thursday.