Daytrading Feb 6 pre-market

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    Morning traders. Thanks Meme and after-market regulars.

    Market wrap:

    The share market has a solid platform to extend its longest winning run in more than 11 years after Wall Street snapped back from its Greek panic plunge as oil rallied and company earnings remained supportive.

    The March SPI 200 futures contract ended the night session 38 points or 0.7% ahead at 5793, pointing to further gains for the share market, which yesterday sealed an 11th straight gain for the first time since October 2003.

    US stocks were boosted by solid quarterly corpoprate reports, merger action and a resumption of the rebound in crude oil. The  S&P 500 put on 21 points or 1.03% on above-average volume as the market picked up from where it was before the European Central Bank sparked a late sell-off on Wednesday by raising the stakes in its stand-off with Greece's left-wing government. The Dow added 212 points or 1.2% and the Nasdaq 48 points or 1.03%.

    “Right now it’s earnings, Greece and M&A [mergers and acquisitions],” Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer Funds in the US, told Bloomberg. “It’s more about the corporate outlook in the US remaining good and the realisation that while the Greek issue is important, it will eventually be resolved.”

    More than three-quarters of companies have beaten analysts' earnings estimates this quarterly season, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, soothing concerns that a rising US dollar and weak overseas demand would derail the bull rally in US equities. Merger activity, another sign of a robust market, continued overnight with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announcing a deal to buy rival Hospira and drinks-can manufacturer Ball Corp moving on UK competitor Rexam.

    The market dismissed a mixed bag of economic data. Jobless claims rose less than expected last week after a holiday-related plunge the week before. First-time claims increased to 278,000 from a revised 267,000, well below the 290,000 anticipated by economists. However, other reports showed productivity slumped 1.8% last quarter and the trade deficit blew out to a two-year high as overseas demand for dollar-denominated US-made goods dried up.

    Energy stocks resumed their recovery from last month's two-year lows, rising 1.39% as oil rallied back above US$50 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for March delivery bounced $2.03 or 4.2% to settle at US$50.48 a barrel, regaining around half of Wednesday night's 8.7% plunge.

    Materials was another stand-out sector, helping BHP and Rio Tinto overcome a fresh five-year low in iron ore. BHP rose 1.68% and Rio Tinto 2.49% in US trade. Spot iron ore for import to China yesterday slipped 30 cents to US$61.10 a dry tonne.

    Copper edged higher as China's latest stimulus move offset news that stockpiles are at their highest level in almost a year. In London, copper added 0.3%, aluminium 0.3%, nickel 0.3% and zinc 0.2%. Lead fell 1% and tin 0.2%. US copper for March delivery was recently up 0.3% or around a cent at US$2.60 a pound.

    Gold stocks edged higher despite muted activity in the precious metal. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs index gained 0.94%.  Gold for April delivery settled $1.80 or 0.1% lower at US$1,262.70 an ounce, but was lately a$2.20 higher at US$1,264.90.

    Greece's negotiations with its international lenders remained front and centre in Europe, dimming risk appetite. The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.11% as Germany's DAX eased 0.14%, France's CAC added 0.06% and Britain's FTSE gained 0.09%. Greece's Athex Composite dived 3.37% after the ECB yesterday announced Greek banks could no longer use Greek sovereign debt as collateral for accessing ECB funds.

    The dollar was this morning buying 78.19 US cents.


    BREATHTAKING RUN TO CONTINUE: Savour these times because we are living through one of the all-time great runs on the ASX. At 11 straight wins, this is the longest winning streak since I began trading, and by the end of the day market statisticians will likely have to look further back in the record books. Rarely has the old adage about not fighting the central bank looked more true. With the returns on bank deposits looking increasingly woeful and likely to get worse later this year, the stock market appears the only place to park cash. Back in the US, Wall Street decided the ECB's pre-emptive strike against Greece did not matter much and got back to domestic concerns. Materials, energy and health were the leading sectors. Small caps rallied 1.39%.

    ECONOMIC NEWS: The AIG Construction Index is due at 9.30am EST, but of greater likely impact is the Reserve Bank's quarterly monetary policy statement at 11.30am. January jobs figures are tonight's key release in the US. Also due: unemployment rate, average hourly earnings, consumer credit and a speech by a member of the Federal Reserve.

    Good luck to all.
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