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Investors poised to hunt for bargains

THE sharemarket is expected to open slightly higher as investors look for value in stocks following more than a week of losses.

THE sharemarket is expected to open slightly higher as investors look for value in stocks following more than a week of losses.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract is pointing to a 5-point gain, or 0.12 per cent, to 4008 points.

"Our market is getting increasingly cheap and despite the fears about Europe, we still know that Asian economies are holding up well and that's where our fortunes lie," the Commsec economist, Craig James, said.

This is despite US stocks tumbling in the worst Thanksgiving-week loss for the S&P 500 index since 1932 as concern grew that Europe's debt crisis would spread and American policy makers failed to reach agreement on reducing the federal budget.

Congress's special debt-reduction committee failed to reach an agreement last week, setting the stage for $US1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts and fuelling concern that economic-stimulus measures that are set to expire will not be renewed.

Worries about Europe's debt crisis flared up after Italy had to pay 7.8 per cent to borrow for two years at a debt auction, in another sign that investors are increasingly hesitant to lend to European countries.

Meanwhile, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, are reported to be considering a new stability treaty that would be limited to only a few countries in the euro zone.

On the economics front, the Housing Industry Association will release new home sales figures tomorrow and the Bureau of Statistics will release October retail trade figures on Thursday.


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