MARKET NEWS

Sharemarket edges closer to 6,000 mark
03/03/2015 10:38 AM

The sharemarket is on the verge of reaching the 6,000-point mark for the first time since January 2008 as rate cut expectations boost the big banks.

Most economists surveyed by the AAP expect the Reserve Bank to cut the cash rate to a new record low of 2.00 per cent when it meets on Tuesday.

And, that's boosting financial stocks, Morgans senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said.

"There's generally a view ... that GDP's (gross domestic product's) going to be fairly soft," he said.

"In that context, there's scope for the Reserve Bank to lower interest rates by another 25 basis points."

The benchmark ASX 200 index was less than 16 points away from touching the 6,000-level at 1015 AEDT, a point last reached during the global financial crisis.

Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank had lifted 56 cents to $93.11, National Australia Bank had gained 21.5 cents to $38.535, ANZ was up 20 cents at $35.90 and Westpac was 50 cents higher at $38.79.

The mining giants were weaker as crude oil prices fell and base metals had a mixed night.

BHP Billiton was down 36 cents at $33.76 and Rio Tinto had fallen $1.20 to $64.40. But iron ore player Fortescue Metals was up two cents at $2.47.

The energy stocks were also weaker, with Woodside Petroleum down 40 cents at $34.90 and Santos losing eight cents to $8.

Department store Myer added three cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $1.685 a day after the resignation of chief executive Bernie Brookes prompted the share price to plunge 10.78 per cent.

The supermarket giants made gains after several choppy days, with Woolworths up 22 cents at $29.51 following its profit downgrade last week.

Coles' owner Wesfarmers was 26 cents higher at $43.56.

Meanwhile, Telstra had gained one cent to $6.43.

KEY FACTS

* At 1015 AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 25.6 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5,984.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 24.7 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 5,951.0 points.

* The March share price index futures contract was 28 points higher at 5,968 points, with 6,373 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 191.4 million securities worth $444.1 million.

Aust shares open higher
03/03/2015 10:12 AM

The Australian share market has opened higher.

At 1010 AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18.8 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 5,977.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index was also up 18.8 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 5,945.1.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up 29 points at 5,969, with 5,764 contracts traded.

Australian market set to open flat
03/03/2015 7:12 AM

The Australian market looks set to open flat after a strong day for US equities following a stream of merger announcements.

At 0645 AEDT on Tuesday, the share price index futures contract was up two points at 5,942.

In local economic news on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its monthly board meeting and makes its interest rate decision.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases its balance of payments and international investment position, along with government finance statistics, both for the December quarter, and January building approval data.

Also due out are the ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence and the Dun and Bradstreet business expectations surveys.

The Australian Broadcasting Digital Media Summit is on in Sydney.

In equities news, News Corp chief financial officer Bedi Singh will participate in the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

In Australia, the market on Monday closed higher after a surprise cut to interest rates in China triggered a rally among mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 30.1 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,958.9 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.8 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,926.3 points.