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News: Outlook: ASX to eye jobs data & earnings



  1. The Australian share market is poised for a positive start to the session ahead of official employment data and corporate earnings results. Global markets saw weakness overnight as Greece’s debt load and ensuing political negotiations continued to remain in focus but Wall Street managed to end off the session low. 
     
    On the jobs front Australia’s labour market is forecast to have seen slower jobs growth in January, potentially pushing the jobless rate to 6.2 per cent from 6.1 per cent in December. 
     
    Companies reporting today include ASX Limited (ASX:ASX), Mirvac Group Limited (ASX:MGR), Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and Transurban Group (ASX:TCL). Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has this morning posted a record first half net profit of $2.1 billion and declared a dividend of 15 cents per share.
     
    Global markets
     
    Wall Street finished a choppy session almost where is started on Wednesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.04 per cent to close at 17,862, the S&P 500 ended steady at 2,069 and the Nasdaq rose 0.3 per cent to close at 4,801.
     
    European markets fell on Wednesday: London's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 per cent, France's CAC 40 lost 0.4 per cent and Germany's DAX lost 0.02 per cent.
     
    Asian markets finished mixed on Wednesday: Japan’s Nikkei declined 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.9 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.5 per cent.
     
    The Australian share market continued to extend the week’s declines yesterday and closed 0.5 per cent lower: The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 32 points to close at 5,769 on Wednesday. On the futures market the SPI is 14 points higher. 
     
    Currencies 
     
    The Australian dollar at 8:20am was buying $US0.7712, 50.63 Pence Sterling, 92.77 Yen and 68.28 Euro cents

    Economic news due out today 

    Australian Bureau of Statistics: Labour force data for January & overseas arrivals and departure data for December
     
    Reporting season
     
    Shares in AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) rose after improving its first half net profit by 18 per cent to $308 million and affirming its annual guidance. The energy giant’s net result was boosted by recent acquisitions and its underlying net profit gained 25 per cent to $302 million. Shares in AGL Energy rose 4.29 per cent to close at $15.08 on Wednesday. 

    Shares in OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) retreated after scrapping its final dividend despite posting a turnaround annual net profit. The copper and gold mining company delivered a net profit of $48.5 million from a loss of more than $290 million the year before. Shares in OZ Minerals retreated 7.35 per cent to close at $3.78 on Wednesday. 
     
    Ex-dividends

    Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) paying a 25.55 cent unfranked dividend
    Argo Investments Limited (ASX:ARG) paying a 14 cent fully franked dividend
    BKI Investment Company Limited (ASX:BKI) paying a 3.55 cent fully franked dividend
    Milton Corporation Limited (ASX:MLT) paying an 8.5 cent fully franked dividend
     
    Commodities 

    Gold has declined $12.50 to $US1,220 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
    Silver has lost $0.10 to $16.77 for March. 
    Copper has eased $0.01 to $2.54 a pound. 
    Oil has slipped $0.63 to $US50.30 a barrel for March light crude in New York.

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