Marijuana munchies set to launch
AUSTRALIAN shares look set to open comfortably stronger after Wall Street hit record highs as investors seized on strong consumer confidence data and comments from US Federal Reserve chair nominee, Jerome Powell. At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price futures index was up 41 points, or 0.68 per cent, at 6,030 points.
Meanwhile, the Aussie dollar has fallen against its US counterpart which rebounded 0.2 per cent overnight following positive data and comments from the confirmation hearing for Mr Powell. The local currency was trading at 75.96 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, from 76.13 on Tuesday.
WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:
WASHINGTON - North Korea has fired a ballistic missile a week after US President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a US list of countries that it says support terrorism.
NAIROBI - Uhuru Kenyatta's vow to unite Kenya during his second term as president was dashed hours later by opposition leader Raila Odinga, who made a veiled reference to a coup in Zimbabwe and said he would be inaugurated next month.
LONDON - Britain and the EU have reached agreement on a Brexit divorce bill of between 45 and 55 billion euros, the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper reports, citing unidentified sources.
WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to badmouth Capitol Hill's top Democrats in advance of an afternoon meeting at the White House, casting doubt on the prospects for a quick agreement to avert a government shutdown at the end of next week.
SYDNEY - Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox says Brexit will mark the "emergence of a global Britain" as he visited Australia to discuss how the two countries could work together in the future.
TELSTRA PENN - Telstra boss Andy Penn expects many of the telco's customers to switch over to mobile from fixed broadband services when its 5G network is launched, but says it will not supersede the national broadband network.
ORIGIN ENERGY - Origin Energy has reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance even as it lifts generation from its biggest power plant to take advantage of higher prices.
CONSUMER ANZ - Consumer confidence eased in the past week but the ongoing improvement in labour market conditions may yet spell good news for retailers over the holiday season.
HOUSING - Apartments in Hobart are selling in half the time, on average, that it took a year ago but vendors in Sydney and Brisbane are waiting longer to seal a deal, possibly holding out for higher prices that often don't materialise.
MAYNE PHARMA - Drugs manufacturer Mayne Pharma is still feeling the impact of tough competition and lower prices in the generic drugs market in the US, but expects that the release of new drugs and restructuring initiatives will boost the company's financial performance.
BHP - BHP Billiton expects to lower costs in its Australian mining operations by a further 10 per cent and has forecast the division will deliver $US1.6 billion ($A2.2 billion) in productivity gains over the next two years.
TATTS - Tatts Group's first quarter net profit has jumped almost 15 per cent, boosted by a string of bigger-than-usual multimillion-dollar lottery jackpots.
RONG YU - China-based Rong Yu Pharmaceuticals is seeking to become the first traditional Chinese medicine firm to list on the Australian share market.
CRESO PHARMA - Australian medicinal cannabis company Creso Pharma is looking to take a bite out of the hemp "edibles" market, with a range of marijuana flavoured chocolates.
ENERGY RENEWABLES - Australia is set to achieve its renewable energy target for 2020 as a jump in the uptake of large scale solar projects drives growth in renewables, a senior regulatory official says.