Australian shares to open higher on US jobs
The Australian sharemarket is set to open slightly higher tomorrow following the release of better than expected jobs figures in the US on Friday.
The December share price index futures contract indicates the market will open six points higher after closing at a seven-week high on Friday.
AMP Capital's chief economist Shane Oliver predicts the local market will continue to strengthen and push towards the 4600 level on the back of an ongoing US market rally.
"It looks like we'll open with some modest positive gains," Dr Oliver said.
A surprise fall in the US unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent for November gave markets a boost on Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 80.25 points (0.61 per cent) to 13,154.29.
Dr Oliver said most of the attention this week will be on the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" in the US.
"There's not a lot of local data out this week," he said.
Investors will carefully watch for any signs of progress as the early January deadline approaches.
US President Barack Obama last week indicated agreement could be reached to avoid the "fiscal cliff" if the Republicans dropped their opposition to raising taxes on incomes of more than $US250,000 ($239,543) a year.
Markets could also be influenced by the release this week of Chinese trade data for November which is expected to show a slight slowing in export growth but remaining well up from recent lows.
In local economic news, official housing finance figures will be released on Monday while National Australia Bank's monthly business survey will be released on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Westpac/Melbourne institute survey of consumer sentiment is set to come out on Wednesday.
On Friday the local market recorded across the board gains.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 42.5 points higher, or 0.94 per cent, at 4551.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen 40.2 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 4555.9 points.