recovery hope cheers investors

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    Recovery hope cheers investors
    By Jane Schulze and AAP
    September 22, 2003
    Global stock markets were given another confidence boost yesterday when the world's top finance ministers issued a statement saying a global economic recovery was under way.

    Ministers from the G7 group of top industrial nations said that there was real improvement in the global economy.

    "Equity markets have rebounded, confidence has increased, financial conditions have improved, oil prices are expected to remain stable and inflation is under control," they said after their talks in Dubai.

    Their confidence in the global economy may spur local investors this week, given a general lack of profit or economic reports at home.

    Most market watchers are waiting for the release on Thursday and Friday of key US data on unemployment claims, durable goods orders and consumer sentiment.

    Tomorrow retailer David Jones will report earnings figures, the only big Australian company to produce numbers this week.

    The only economic figures due out locally are the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' skilled vacancy survey on Wednesday and quarterly job vacancies data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

    Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed 3.2 points lower at 3218.1 on Friday while the all ordinaries index lost 1.6 points to 3223.4. Those falls could continue today following a depressed session on Wall Street on Friday as investors locked in gains from Thursday's rally.

    The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 14.31 points to 9644.82, while Standard & Poor's 500 index ended 3.27 points lower at 1036.31 and the Nasdaq composite index eased 3.81 points to 1905.74.

    Analysts said the absence of market-moving news presented investors with a good opportunity to take stock of recent developments.

    The Australian share market is just 6 per cent away from record highs thanks to the strong domestic economy and an easing of the drought.

    Market players are expecting the market to rally at least another 100 points, thanks to higher profits being reported by Australian companies.

    On the economic front, economists expect a rise in job vacancies data due for release here this week.

    CommSec expects job vacancies to have risen by about 5 per cent in the three months to August, more than reversing the 3.8 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

    Westpac also believes that job vacancies have been more positive of late. "Even with a flat third-quarter result, vacancies would be up 6.7 per cent on a year ago," it said.

    HSBC predicts a 7.5 per cent rebound in the quarter, leaving trend growth for the quarter at 1.7 per cent and 13.5 per cent year on year.

    The positive economic news is also supporting the Aussie dollar, which is heading back towards the five-year high of US68.44c it reached in July.
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