THE sharemarket is expected to open higher this morning, with the futures market suggesting a gain of 30 points, after the head of the International Monetary Fund said European and US financial markets showed signs of stabilisation.
Local oil stocks are also expected to get a boost from a surge in the price of oil West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 2 per cent to $US107.25, while Brent crude oil jumped 2.9 per cent to $US126.10 as a positive US lead on Friday is expected to wash through to the local exchange.
Speaking in Beijing yesterday at the China Development Forum 2012, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the world economy had "stepped back from the brink" and there was cause to be more optimistic.
"Just a few months ago, the situation was decidedly gloomy," she said. "Indicators for the last quarter of 2011, namely for Europe and the United States, did not provide much reassurance."
"Yet, today, we are seeing signs of stabilisation, signs that policy actions are paying off."
CommSec chief economist Craig James said the futures market was pointing to a gain of 30 points at the start of trade, probably led by major energy stocks after the rise in the price of oil.
"For our market, the oil price was up significantly, so that's going to be good news for the energy stocks," Mr James said.
Other sectors would probably make gains in a delayed reaction to a positive US lead on Friday that failed to produce gains in the local market that day, he said.
Wall Street's major indices put in a mixed performance on Friday after a range of economic data added to mixed signals on the state of the US economic recovery.
Miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals escaped unscathed after tropical cyclone Lua battered the Pilbara region on Saturday. The port of Dampier, used by Rio Tinto, remained open through the cyclone. Port Hedland, the port used by BHP and Fortescue, reopened yesterday.
The week ahead will be dominated by US housing figures, and the release of the minutes of the Reserve Bank's monetary policy meeting in March.
On the corporate front, first-half 2012 earnings results will be posted by David Jones and Kathmandu on Wednesday, while Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson post their results on Thursday.
There are three separate speeches by Reserve Bank officials this week, along with the release of the minutes of last week's board meeting.
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens speaks in Hong Kong today on "Economic Conditions and Prospects" and on Thursday, RBA assistant governor Guy Debelle will deliver a speech to the Australian DCM Summit 2012.