Aust stocks set to open higher

Local market tipped to begin stronger despite negative close on Wall Street.

The Australian sharemarket looks set to open higher despite a negative close on Wall Street as increased Ukraine tensions overshadowed strong US jobs figures.

At 6.45am (AEST), the June share price index futures contract was up seven points at 5,454.

The US economy added 288,000 jobs in April, far above the 210,000 projected by analysts.

But Russia's warning of "catastrophic consequences" unless Ukraine halted a military operation against pro-Russian secessionists rattled markets.

In the southern city of Odessa, 38 people died in an arson attack against a trade union building after a day of violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian militants

Locally, in economic news on Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases building approvals for March, while the ANZ job advertisements series for April is due out, as is TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge, also for April and the Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) for the same month.

In equities news, Westpac posts first half results and Leighton Holdings first quarter results.

In Australia, the market on Friday closed slightly higher as investors awaited the release of key US jobs figures.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 9.3 points, or 0.17%, at 5,458.1 points.


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