Flood of results to set the tone for trading

AUSTRALIAN shares are expected to open in positive territory this morning as investors focus on a key week for company earnings following some better than expected profit results.

AUSTRALIAN shares are expected to open in positive territory this morning as investors focus on a key week for company earnings following some better than expected profit results.

The ASX 200 futures index was up five points at 4335 on Sunday, pointing to a reasonable start.

The CommSec economist Craig James expects some fairly tame trade, with no key local data to be released while the holiday season in Europe and the US bubbles along.

"Investors have been encouraged by the local earnings season so far because it hasn't been as bad as expected," Mr James said. "This is the key week for profit results so we'll get a good idea about where the economy stands after hearing from the major companies."

There was a reasonable expectation that stocks would remain buoyant following strong runs in Europe and the US, he said.

Apple shares hit an all-time high on Friday as US stocks closed out the week with a second day of solid gains that put the Dow Jones index at its highest level since 2007.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 index closed 0.31 per cent higher at 5852.42 points and in Frankfurt, the DAX 30 added 0.64 per cent to 7040.88 points.

At the close on Friday, the ASX 200 index was up 39.9 points, or 0.92 per cent, at 4370.1, while the All Ordinaries index was up 40.3 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 4393.8.

AMP Capital's head of investor strategy, Shane Oliver, said the focus would be on company profit results. The profit-reporting season moves into its busiest week with results from 87 companies including BlueScope, Amcor, Oil Search, AGL, BHP, Coca-Cola, CSL, Woodside, Fortescue, IAG and Woolworths.

AAP