The futures market suggests that Australian shares may be in for another bright start to the week this morning after the S&P 500 closed at a record high on Friday evening. All eyes are likely to focus on whether tech stocks bounce back after investors and traders rotated into recovery plays last week. Elsewhere, the latest Australian unemployment data will be released.
Economic calendar and news
In developments that could shed some further light on the central bank’s fiscal outlook, several members of the RBA will be speaking in the coming days, including Governor Philip Lower, Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Chris Kent, and Deputy Governor Guy Debelle. Amid those presentations, the RBA will also release the Board minutes from its most-recent meeting, where interest rates were cut to 0.1% and a $100 billion quantitative easing program was launched.
As mentioned earlier, economists will also be scrutinising this week’s unemployment figures, which are set to be published on Thursday morning. Consensus estimates suggest that the lockdown in Melbourne last month may have weighed further on the jobs market, with forecasts pointing towards a potential rise in the unemployment rate from 6.9% to 7.2%. Jobs data has consistently outperformed market expectations in recent months, highlighting the uncertainty in place.
In the US, October’s retail sales numbers are the main economic data-point scheduled for this week. After five months in a row of month-on-month growth, forecasts suggest last month may have resulted in the slowest increase thus far.
ASX major movers
CSL (ASX: CSL) is in the news this morning as the Morrison government commits to spend $1 billion across ten years in buying vaccines developed out of a new vaccine production facility that will be developed by the global biotech’s subsidiary, Seqirus. Upon completion, the Melbourne-based complex will be the largest influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the southern hemisphere.
A select range of tech shares were subject to the brunt of selling last week as investors shifted exposure to value and recovery stocks in light of the news regarding Pfizer’s phase three COVID vaccine trial. The Nasdaq managed to end the week on a positive note, which could set up local IT shares for a bounce, however, interest may well be focused on whether US mega-tech stocks hold up well throughout the week.
Gold stocks will also be looking to reverse course after a disappointing week, even though last Friday proved to be a positive day for various gold explorers and miners. Nonetheless, that means companies like Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) and Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX: SAR) will be on the radar of traders throughout the week, who will no doubt be watching the gold price charts to gauge the next move for the precious metal.
Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) trades ex-dividend this morning courtesy of a $1.35 per share dividend that is partly franked at 40%. The major bank will pay shareholders on December 22. Elsewhere, dividend-watchers can also keep an eye on the likes of Zimplats Holdings (ASX: ZIM), WAM Capital (ASX: WAM) and Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX: SOL), which all trade ex-dividend across the course of the week.
There is also plenty for IPO investors to look forward to over the coming days, with a slate of new listings pencilled in. First, Native Mineral Resources Holdings (ASX: NMR) and Universal Store Holdings (ASX: UNI) will both list on the ASX today after raising $6 million and $147.8 million respectively. There’s also online personal lender Harmoney Corp (ASX: HMY), which is expected to debut on Thursday after securing $92.5 million in capital.
Elsewhere, two of the market’s best-performing stocks from recent months will line up to keep shareholders abreast of the latest news at their annual general meetings this week. REA Group (ASX: REA) will hold its AGM on Tuesday, followed by Kogan (ASX: KGN) on Friday.
Last but not least, momentum traders will be keeping close watch over the likes of Meridian Energy (ASX: MEZ) and Mercury NZ (ASX: MCY), both of which recorded all-time highs last week.
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