European market pressed higher overnight, extending the rally born out of yesterday’s Asian session.
US markets were closed for the President’s Day holiday.
The FTSE added 40 points (+0.7%) to settle at 5945, whilst the CAC (+1%) and DAX (+1.5%) also posted strong gains.
The gains saw European stocks close near seven-month highs amid optimism that euro-zone finance ministers will approve a bail-out package for Greece.
A French business confidence index was steady at 92 in February, the first sign that confidence was stabilising after trending lower from its mid-2011 peak.
Italian industrial orders and sales rebounded in December with orders up 5.5% while sales rose 3.4%.
The Aussie dollar held firm overnight, holding around the US$1.075 handle, whilst the euro strengthened the most in almost two weeks against the greenback dollar on speculation European finance ministers will settle their remaining differences over a Greek bailout at a meeting today.
Oil rose 1.6% after Iran halted its relatively small oil sales to British and French firms in retaliation against tightening EU sanctions.
Base metal prices posted modest gains in quiet trade, receiving little direction from currencies or economic data, whilst gold added US$9.60 (+0.6%) to settle at US$1,735.50 an ounce.
Today the Reserve Bank releases minutes of the last Board meeting, at 11:30am, AEDT. We will also hear form RBA Governor Stevens at 1:30pm, AEDT.
On the reporting front, Downer EDI, Flight Centre, Oil Search, OneSteel and Sonic Healthcare are amongst those delivering numbers today.