US rally to gives shares a boost
The Australian sharemarket is expected to start the week in flat territory following modest gains in the US late on Friday. But Monday's release of Chinese economic growth figures for last month and the June quarter could end up being a strong market mover. China is Australia's most important trading partner.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 finished about 0.3 per cent higher on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.61 per cent higher.
In futures trading on the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was pointing to a slight gain on Monday, trading 14 points stronger at 4950.
At the close on Friday, the ASX 200 index was up 8.2 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 4973.9.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said the futures trading indicated Australia might play "follow the leader" to the US.
Higher base metals prices might also help the market, with the spot iron ore price trading above $US125 a tonne on Friday.
"Those Chinese GDP figures include economic growth, production, retail spending and the like and can be a real market turner," Mr James said.
He pointed to the release of weaker than expected Chinese import-export prices last week as evidence and the negative effect this had had, with investors worrying about Chinese growth.
It will be a big week in the US for the release of quarterly corporate earnings, which could influence the Australian market.
The Australian dollar was trading at three-year lows at US90.45¢ on Sunday.