The Australian share market is expected to open slightly higher on Monday after a strong week for most major markets including seven consecutive weeks of gains for the European market.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 2.5 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,116.2 points at the close on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 0.5 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 6,216.4 points.
CommSec chief economist Craig James says wage figures and employment will be the domestic highlights, with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics wage price index – measuring growth for the March quarter – due on Wednesday.
High petrol prices will remain on the radar of the ‘ordinary’ consumer, as will future government by-elections and pending opposition agreement over the tax reform package, announced in the budget last Tuesday, he said.
‘There may be a few more people digesting the budget, the winners and losers, and continuing to watch the developments in terms of the construction and engineering sector for new projects that are getting started,’ Mr James said on Sunday.
‘We had a little bit of retreat on Friday in terms of oil prices but overall the market remains tight. We’ve got strong global demand and limited supplies.’
Mr James forecast a market gain of four points on Monday, with only a modest gain for energy and materials stocks.
‘We’ve had a good week last week for most of the major markets. In fact, in Europe, they’ve had seven straight weeks of gains – the longest winning streak in three years,’ he said.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.37 per cent and the S&P 500 gained 0.17 per cent.
Corporations with updates in terms of their trading results will be among this week’s playmakers.
‘We’re in the confessional period and that will finish up in late June so those companies wanting to provide a bit of guidance about their earnings, now is the time to do it,’ Mr James said, noting recent ‘reasonably positive’ results such as Qantas flagging an expected record pre-tax profit.
Rather than ‘languishing in the 74 cents area’ the Australian dollar finished the week trading at 75.38 US cents.
Mr James said a softer greenback is good news for export-focused or globally-focused companies in the US.