Local stocks set for solid start

The Australian share market is expected to open higher despite mixed returns on Wall Street on Friday as investors weighed disappointing company earnings but welcomed a better-than-expected estimate of US economic growth.

The Australian share market is expected to open higher despite mixed returns on Wall Street on Friday as investors weighed disappointing company earnings but welcomed a better-than-expected estimate of US economic growth.

Join the Markets Live blog from 9.30amVisit BusinessDay's special AGM season homepageThe Australian share market is expected to open higher despite mixed returns on Wall Street on Friday as investors weighed disappointing company earnings but welcomed a better-than-expected estimate of US economic growth.

On the ASX24, the SPI futures contract was 18 points higher to 4483. The Aussie dollar is higher in early trade. It was recently trading at $US1.0367, up from $US1.0312 on Friday afternoon, but leapt as high as $1.038 on Friday night.

AGM season continues this week, with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Commonwealth Bank, Crown, Flight Centre, Consolidated Media Holdings, JB Hi-Fi, Tabcorp Holdings, Boral and Qantas all due to front shareholders.

China iron ore lost ground on Friday. The bulk commodity lost 40 US cents to $US119.60 after touching $US120 on Thursday for the first time since late July.

What you need to know

SPI futures are 18 points higher at 4483The $A is higher at $US1.0363In the US, the S&P500 was flat at 1411.94In Europe, the FTSE100 was flat at 5806.71Gold lost 0.1% to $US1711.90 an ounceWTI crude oil added 23 US cents to $US86.28 a barrelReuters/Jefferies CRB index lost 0.3% to 296.84Australian business calendar: October 29 - November 3Wall Street week ahead: Jobs, election may shade earningsMaking news today

In economics news:

Commonwealth Bank business sales indicator for SeptemberIn company news:

The following companies hold annual general meeting: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Ceramic Fuel Cells, Cortona Resources, FSA Group, Peters MacGregor Investments Southern Cross Electrical EngineeringMaking news this week:

Tuesday: HIA new home sales for SeptemberWednesday: Buildings approvals for September, private sector credit for SeptemberThursday: AiG performance of manufacturing index for October, RPData-Rismark house prices, export price index for third quarterFriday: Producer price index for third quarterMaking news offshore this week:

Tuesday: US S&P Case Shiller home prices index for August, consumer confidenceThursday: US Jobless claims for the week of 27 October, ISM manufacturing indexFriday: US employment situation for October Unconvincing

Shaw Stockbroking's Jamie Spiteri said the Australian share market was likely to recover from its dip on Friday evening, as markets in Europe and the US remained stronger than expected.

"The market fell away here on Friday in anticipation that offshore markets may fall away on Friday evening. But as it turned out, they steadied and there's been a slight improvement," he said.

But Mr Spiteri said the improvement would be "nothing too convincing."

"All it will be doing is making up for some lost ground from Friday, given that the market was down almost 40 points."

The dollar

The Australian dollar is more than half a US cent higher on US growth data and commentary from the euro zone. At 7am the local unit was trading at $US1.0364, up from $US1.0312 on Friday.

HiFX senior trader Stuart Ive said global data - including gross domestic product (GDP) numbers in the US - had pushed the Aussie dollar down then up over the weekend.

''On Friday, the market took a bit of a dip after the Spanish unemployment figures came out,'' he said.

''They showed that more than one in four Spanish is now unemployed. Then the US GDP came out around the two per cent mark - slightly higher than expected. That was enough to lift the Aussie off its lows.''

Official data released on Friday showed the US economy growing by 2.0 per cent in the third quarter - higher than the market's expectation of a 1.8 per cent rise.

Offshore last week

United States

US stocks finished flat under the shadow of earnings disappointments but tempered by a slightly better-than-expected estimate of economic growth in the third quarter.

Key numbers:

S&P 500 lost 0.07% at 1411.94Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.03% at 13,107.21Nasdaq Composite added 0.06% to 2987.95Europe

European stocks rebounded on figures showing a pick up in the US growth rate, after having taken a hit on the Spanish unemployment rate breaching 25 per cent for the first time.

Key numbers:

London's FTSE 100 added 0.03% to 5806.71Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.44% to 7231.85 In Paris the CAC 40 added 0.69% to 3435.09 Asia

Asian markets fell as dealers looked ahead to the release of US economic growth figures, while Hong Kong eased on profit-taking after posting 10 straight days of gains.

Key numbers:

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.35% to 8933.06Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.21% to 21,545.57China's Shanghai composite lost 1.68% to 2,066.21 How we fared last week

The sharemarket has closed lower on fears that US markets will react badly to the latest earnings figures from iPad and iPhone maker Apple.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had dropped 38.1 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 4,472.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 37.2 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 4,496.3 points.

BusinessDay with agencies

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