Wall Street closed sharply higher, boosted by the technology and healthcare sectors, as markets shifted their attention away from the US-led missile strikes in Syria towards corporate earnings season.
Markets at 7:05am (AEST):
- ASX SPI 200 futures +0.1pc, ASX 200 (Monday’s close) +0.2pc at 5,841
- AUD: 77.78 US cents, 54.25 British pence, 62.8 Euro cents, 83.3 Japanese yen, $NZ1.06
- US: Dow Jones +0.9pc at 24,573, S&P 500 +0.8pc at 2,678, Nasdaq +0.7pc at 7,156
- Europe: FTSE -0.9pc at 7,198, DAX -0.4pc at 12,391, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2pc at 3,441
- Commodities: Brent crude -1.5pc at $US71.50/barrel, spot gold flat at $US1,345.54/ounce
The Dow Jones surged by 213 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 24,573.
As for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, they lifted by 0.8 and 0.7 per cent respectively.
S&P companies are expected, on average, to report an 18.6 per cent jump in first-quarter profit, the biggest rise in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters figures.
Bank of America shares rose 0.4 per cent — after it reported a better-than-expected 34 per cent jump in first-quarter profit.
It was helped by increased earnings from loans and lower US corporate taxes.
Last week, major financial stocks BlackRock, JP Morgan and Citigroup reported earnings, which beat expectations.
Pharmaceutical company Merck saw its share price rise 2.5 per cent, after announcing its cancer-treatment drug Keytruda reduced the risk of death in a patient trial by 51 per cent, when combined with chemotherapy.
In addition, US retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in March, boosted by a 2 per cent jump in automobile sales.
Overnight, European stock markets fell, with London’s FTSE in particular dropping 0.9 per cent as investors awaited new US sanctions on Russia.
Australian market today
Australian shares are set to push higher in a few hours, thanks to a jump in base metal prices and a strong night in US markets.
The Australian dollar has lifted to 77.8 US cents, but has fallen to 54.25 British pence and 62.8 Euro cents.
In local economic news, the Reserve Bank will release the minutes of its April board meeting, in which it maintained the official cash rate at its record low 1.5 per cent for the 19th straight month.
More to come.