International markets extended their gains overnight, with the Dow logging its fifth consecutive win to claim a new record high.
The gains on Wall Street were hard to come by after data revealed US retail sales were unchanged in April.
Retail spending petered out last month after rebounding strongly in March, when American consumers splurged following the cold winter.
Homebuilders were among the best performers after the Federal Housing Finance Agency issued directives that will make it easier for Americans to obtain mortgages.
In commodity markets, oil settled at its highest in three weeks on expectations tonight’s US supply report will reveal a decline in weekly inventories.
Gold weakened a touch, but support for the metal continues to come from tensions in Ukraine and economic uncertainty in China and Europe.
In the currency space, the euro suffered further declines ahead a likely June start date for new ECB stimulus.
Today’s market action will be shaped by some major developments. Banking giants Westpac and NAB are both going ex-dividend, whilst CBA revealed its third quarter cash profit jumped 15% from a year earlier.
There is also likely to be budget-related volatility. Traders may focus their attention on companies like Lend Lease, Transurban and Ramsay Healthcare, which are expected to benefit from last night’s budget developments.