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ASX tipped to follow Wall Street higher in early trade

“We have had a good track record since we hit the lows,” Mr James said.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster forecast Australian Consumer Price Index figures out on Wednesday to show core inflation of 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent for headline inflation, with cheap petrol roughly offsetting higher fruit and vegetable prices.

But those figures, along with US and European GDP numbers out this week, would reflect a pre-coronavirus economic environment.

“The second half of March was very different to the first half of March,” he said.

“It’s sort of the calm before the storm, even though there’s some storm out there.”

Mr Oster said did not expect any movement from the US Federal Reserve when it meets on Wednesday, having already cut its benchmark lending rate to zero, however the Bank of Japan could unleash unlimited quantitative easing to protect its economy against the pandemic when it meets on Monday.

ASX-listed energy companies on Friday were the big winners, up 2.0 per cent as the price of Brent crude advanced four per cent. It now sits at $US21.44 a barrel.

Woodside gained 1.8 per cent, Santos rose 1.9 per cent and Oil Search advanced 4.8 per cent, while miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals lifted.

Melbourne biotech company Mesoblast also soared 38.9 per cent to $2.73 after reporting that of a dozen COVID-19 patients on ventilators treated with its stem cell product candidate remestemcel-L, 10 had survived and nine had come off the ventilators.

The ASX healthcare sector closed 1.2 per cent higher on Friday, with CSL rising 2.3 per cent and Ramsay Healthcare up 2.4 per cent.

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