Overseas, traders began the week with cautious optimism, after Friday’s losses. European markets had a strong run overnight with all three major benchmarks closing in the green, while US equities closed mixed. The Dow Jones gained 0.6% as banking shares rebounded, the S&P500 was also higher, while the Nasdaq closed in the red.
What to watch today:
- The SPI futures are suggesting our local market will open 0.33% higher this morning.
- In economic data, February’s retail sales data will be announced at 11:30am AEDT, expected to drop to 0.5% from 1.9% in January, when non-food industries rebounded, and department store sales rose the most.
- Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has accepted a takeover offer from a consortium comprising Brookfield Asset Management and MidOcean Energy, so ORG will be on watch today. Also, United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) may be returning from a trading halt today with a takeover update.
- In commodities:
- Oil has jumped, currently trading over 5% higher at around US$72 per barrel, building on gains from last week, as assurances from US regulators eased fears of a broader financial crisis. Keep watch of energy shares today.
- Gold is lower after hitting a one-year high, as government efforts to stabilise the banking system have eased investor concerns. Watch stocks like Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and other gold miners.
- While iron ore is at US$122.50 per tonne, which is its lowest level in 2-months, pressured by weaker demand from steel producers.
- Stocks to watch today include Reliance Worldwide Corporation, holding an investor day today and AUB Group, set to hold their AGM today.
- Stocks set to go ex-dividend today include Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) and Cedar Woods Properties (ASX:CWP). This may see their share prices fall, as investors take their profits.
- Bell Potter have upgraded their recommendation on Integrated Research (ASX:IRI) from a Hold to a Buy. The company is global provider of experience management solutions for business-critical technology environments. Bell Potter’s 12-month price target is $0.65, generated from three valuation methodologies: PE ratio, enterprise multiple, and discounted cash flow. The $0.65 price target is a 55% premium to the current share price of $0.42, and the total expected return is the same as there is no forecast dividend yield.