CommSec Daily Download Thursday 16 December 2021 . A look at the trading day ahead.

ASX SPI futures are up 37 points or 0.5 per cent following a strong rally in the US sharemarket overnight.

Today’s Announcements: Qantas (QAN) announces trading update | PointsBet Holdings (PBH) obtains licence in Virginia, US | CSL (CSL) completes $6.3 billion equity raise |

Aussie shares set to start on a strong note on Thursday after a strong rally in the US overnight.

• The ASX 200 index is expected to start trade on a strong note after US shares rebounded on speculation that US Federal Reserve policy tightening will help combat inflation without derailing economic growth. The ASX SPI futures are pointing up by 37 points or 0.5 per cent. In the US, the Dow Jones index closed up by 383 points, or 1.1 per cent, the S&P 500 index climbed 76 points or 1.6 per cent and the Nasdaq index gained 328 points or 2.2 per cent.

• In commodities markets, the Brent crude oil price gained US18 cents or 0.2 per cent to US$73.88 a barrel, and the US Nymex crude price added US14 cents or 0.2 per cent to US$70.87 a barrel. The rise in oil prices due to US crude inventories falling by 4.6 million barrels last week, could support Aussie listed energy companies, such as Woodside Petroleum (WPL) and Santos (STO).

• Bullion lost ground overnight, with the gold futures price falling by US$7.80 or 0.4 per cent to US$1,764.50 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,777 an ounce at the US close. The decline in gold price may weigh on shares of Aussie gold miners such as Evolution Mining (EVN) or Newcrest Mining (NCM).

• Iron ore added US$1.45 or 1.3 per cent to US$109.70. However, London-listed shares in Rio Tinto (-2.2 per cent) and BHP (-1.8 per cent) were caught up in the sell-off in UK shares overnight with the FTSE 100 index down 0.7 per cent.

Qantas (QAN) releases trading update detailing a lower net debt position

• Qantas (QAN) has released a trading update suggesting a $250-$300 million earnings-before-interest-tax-depreciation-and-amortisation (EBITDA) loss, alongside a $1.1 billion EBIT loss at year-end. Nonetheless, the airliner has indicated that they will end the year with a “materially better net debt position”, with contributions arising from the sale of land in Mascot for $802 million, and strong cash flow contributions from Qantas Freight (record performance) and Loyalty. QAN expects net debt to be circa $5.65 billion by the end of December 2021, an improvement from the $5.9 billion in June 2021. QAN also expects domestic flying to reach 75 per cent of pre-Covid levels at the end of December, and more than 100 per cent in February 2022, suggesting that international travel will reach the bottom end of the 40-55 per cent range of pre-Covid levels they previously provided guidance on.

• PointsBet Holdings (PBH) has launched online and mobile sports betting operations in Virginia, marking its eight US state it has launched a betting option in. The launch comes after The Virginia Lottery recently issued PBH and Colonial Downs, the only licensed gaming company in Virginia and operator of the Colonial Downs racetrack, an official supplier license to offer sports wagering in Virginia. PBH will also leverage their partnership with NBC Sports to promote the PBH brand across Virginia and local sports communities.

• Following the move to acquire Swiss-based drug maker Vifor Pharma Group, CSL (CSL) has today announced a successful completion of their A$6.3 billion equity raise (A$273 per share), the largest equity raise Australia has seen.

Published by Ryan Felsman, Senior Economist,CommSec