Aust stocks set to open higher

Local market tipped to begin last big week of earnings in positive territory.

The Australian stock market looks set to open higher following gains on Wall Street which enjoyed a jolt from Microsoft's announcement that chief executive Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months.

The US Commerce Department's unwelcome US new-home sales report for July - sales plunged 13.4 per cent month-on-month - also proved a catalyst for the rally.

Locally, at 0645 AEST on Monday, the September share price index futures contract was up 22 points at 5,5129.

No major economic news is expected on Monday.

In equities news, nib Holdings (NHF) is expected to post full-year results while Caltex Australia (CTX), Spark Infrastructure Group (SKI) and Boart Longyear (BLY) are slated to announce first half-earnings.

In Australia, the market on Friday outperformed Wall Street as the first positive Chinese manufacturing data in four months boosted the big banks and miners.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was was up 47.7 points, or 0.94%, at 5,123.4 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 48.5 points, or 0.96%, at 5,115.2 points.

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