News: Outlook: ASX set to follow Wall St higher on oil gains

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    As a lift in oil prices buoys Wall Street the local market looks set to open higher and extend an eleven day run of gains.
     
    The strong result comes as central banks in both Australia and China lower costs of borrowing this week.
     
    Debate in Europe between Greece and its creditors remains difficult but an emergency liquidity lifeline has come from the ECB to support Greek banks amid the country’s government debt no longer being accepted as collateral for central bank loans. 
     
    Global figures

    Wall Street closed up yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.2 per cent to close at 17,885, the S&P 500 added 1 per cent to close at 2,063 and the NASDAQ is up 1 per cent to close at 4,765.
     
    European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE is up 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.2 per cent and Frankfurt lost 0.1 per cent.
     
    Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei is down 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng pushed 0.4 per cent higher, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 1.2 per cent.
     
    The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 34 points up to finish at 5,811. On the futures market the SPI is 39 points up. 
     
    Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 8:20AM was buying $US0.7808 cents, 50.94 Pence Sterling, 91.75 Yen and 68.03 Euro cents.
     
    Economic news 

    Today the RBA will release its statement on monetary policy which will give the market some insights into why the bank chose to cut its cash rate earlier in the week. 
     
    Also the Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association will report the performance of construction index (PCI) for January.
     
    Company news
     
    Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF) has outlined the details of a cost cutting drive in its European manufacturing operations that hopes to save €16 million per year. The company says a plant in the Netherlands will be closed while efficiency programs will aim to streamline operations in England and France with one-off restructuring costs estimated at $44 million. The news comes after Wednesday’s announcement that CEO Doug Rathbone had stepped down. Shares in Nufarm closed 1.56 per cent up yesterday at $5.86.
     
    Capitol Health Limited (ASX:CAJ) has completed its acquisition of [email protected] Park with operations to commence today. The imaging diagnostics company announced the $25 million purchase on the 13th January. Managing Director John Conidi says the addition of this highly regarded facility and its staff is a further stage in the development of the company. Shares in Capitol Health closed 0.6 per cent up/ yesterday at $0.83
     
    Commodities

    Gold is up $1.80 to $US1,266 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. Silver is down $0.11 to $17.28 for March. Copper is up $0.01 at $2.59 a pound. Oil is up $2.20 at US$50.65 a barrel for March light crude in New York.
     
    Ex-dividends

    Ozgrowth Limite d(ASX:OZG) paying 0.75c fully franked
    Westoz Investment Company Limited (ASX:WIC) is paying 4.5c fully franked. 
 
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