The West

Market set to open firmer again
Market set to open firmer again

UPDATE 7.50am: Australian shares opened higher on fresh hopes that Spain would formally ask the European Central Bank for a bailout.

At 7.20am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 37.5 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 4529 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 36.4 points, or 0.81 per cent, higher to 4550.3 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 34 points higher at 4526 points, with 8630 contracts traded.

European stock markets chalked up strong gains overnight and the euro hit $1.30 on fresh hopes that Spain will ask for some sort of aid and improved sentiment regarding Greece.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies jumped the next day by 1.12 per cent to close at 5870.54 points.

In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 127.55 points (0.95 per cent) to 13,551.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 14.79 points (1.03 per cent) to 1454.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq added 36.99 (1.21 per cent) to 3101.17.

RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop said the Australian market had opened higher on strong leads from Wall Street and Europe, with banking stocks performing particularly well.

“The market thinks that Spain is going to ask for a formal bailout so that has given it slightly more confidence,” he said.

Locally, the four major banks all opened higher.

National Australia Bank opened 21 cents higher at $26.83, Westpac gained 17 cents to $25.89, ANZ was 19 cents up at $25.98 and Commonwealth Bank was 30 cents higher at $57.39.

In economics news, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Indexes of Economic Activity showed that the Australia's economy is growing at a slower-than-normal pace, but is expected to pick up over the next six to nine months.

In equities news, shareholders have voted down calls for change at the helm of News Corporation at the company's annual general meeting in the US. News Corp shares were 24 cents higher at $24.51.

In Australia, CSL posted a net profit of $982.6 million in the 2011/12 financial year, up 4.5 per cent from the previous financial year.

At 7.40am CSL shares were 47 cents up at $47.21.

National turnover was 353 million securities worth $648 million, with 417 stocks up, 166 down and 283 unchanged.

The West Australian

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