Encouraging data a positive lead for local market

THE Australian sharemarket is expected to open higher on Monday, after overseas markets lifted on Friday.

THE Australian sharemarket is expected to open higher on Monday, after overseas markets lifted on Friday.

In a holiday-shortened session on Wall Street on Friday, stocks rallied on signs that the holiday shopping season was off to a good start. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 172.79 points, or 1.35 per cent, to 13,009.7 points.

The broad-market S&P 500 index added 1.3 per cent, to 1409.15 points, and the Nasdaq Composite index lifted 1.38 per cent to 2966.85.

AMP Capital head of investment strategy Shane Oliver said markets in the US and Europe made solid gains on Friday after unexpected rises in German and French business confidence and post-Thanksgiving optimism in the US.

"ASX 200 futures rose 30 points, or 0.7 per cent, pointing to a solid start to trading for the Australian sharemarket when it opens on Monday," he said.

On the economic front in Australia, data on new home sales and private capital spending are released this week. In the US, talks on resolving the so-called fiscal cliff are expected to intensify.

In the euro zone, Dr Oliver said the focus was likely to be on Sunday's regional election in Catalonia, Spain. He said if secessionists did well, confidence in Spain might suffer.

Also, European finance ministers meet on Tuesday and are expected to reach an accord regarding financing a debt reduction package for Greece. In China, the release on Friday of the Purchasing Managers' Index, an indicator of business conditions, is expected to confirm that economic growth in China has bottomed.

On the company front this week, Harvey Norman and Brickworks hold annual meetings on Tuesday. Cabcharge and Oroton have AGMs on Wednesday BHP Billiton, Lend Lease, Macquarie Radio Network and Ramsay Health Care hold annual meetings on Thursday Primary Health Care meets on Friday. AAP

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