Aust shares expected to rise on Monday
Market watch top headlines
PERTH, Feb 17 AAP
February 17 2013, 2:36PM
The Australian sharemarket is expected to open in positive territory on Monday as investors focus on the busiest week in profit season following a flat lead from Wall Street.
The Australian futures market is pointing to a 13-point, or 0.3 per cent, increase in local shares despite the S&P 500 closing 0.1 per cent lower on Friday.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver says local earnings results will continue to be the main driver of the Australian sharemarket this week.
"The Australian sharemarket is likely to ignore that US lead and that's largely because the market fell on Friday," Mr Oliver said on Sunday.
A sharp drop in shares of the world's largest retailer Walmart pulled US stocks lower on Friday, though steep losses were averted by a final-hour rebound.
At the closing bell the broad-based S&P 500 was down 1.59 points (0.10 per cent) to 1,519.79.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 8.37 points (0.06 per cent) at 13,981.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slid 6.63 points (0.21 per cent) to 3,192.03.
But Mr Oliver said local stocks would take centre stage in Australia this week as around 90 major companies issued their profit reports.
"Our market will take its lead from earnings reports," he said.
"So far so good for earnings results."
Mr Oliver expects major Australian companies to continue to deliver positive surprises.
On Tuesday the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will release the minutes of its February board meeting which are expected to show a continual interest rate-easing bias.
On Friday RBA Governor Glenn Stevens will appear before a parliamentary committee.
And on Wednesday, the latest official wages figures are expected to show fairly benign wages growth.
Australian shares closed flat on Friday, with the benchmark index holding above 5,000 points.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down three points, or 0.06 per cent, at 5,033.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 2.6 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 5,054.6 points.
By Kim Christian