Local shares are poised to open higher after the Federal Reserve eased concerns about the outlook for US interest rates.
What you need2know:
• SPI futures up 58pts at 5223
• AUD at 81.79 US cents
• In late trade, S&P 500 +1.6%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +1.6%
• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 flat, FTSE flat, CAC +0.5%, DAX -0.2%
• Spot gold down $US4.93 or 0.4% to $US1192.08 an ounce
• Brent oil up $US1.79 or 3% to $US61.80 per barrel
What's on today:
Australia population, financial accounts, detailed employment; US Philadelphia Fed survey, leading index.
Stocks to watch
CBA initiated coverage on Ardent Leisure Group with an "overweight" recommendation and a price target of $3.30 a share.
RBC Capital Markets has retained an "outperform" on Sydney Airport and a price target of $4.75 a share.
"The committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalise the stance of monetary policy," US central bank policymakers said in a statement in Washington, removing a calendar-based phrase with language that gives it more flexibility to respond to economic data. "The committee sees this guidance as consistent with its previous statement that" rates are likely to stay near zero for a "considerable time."
The Russian central bank said it would take additional financial measures to speed stabilisation of the rouble. The bank said in a statement that, together with the government, it was preparing a set of measures to provide, if necessary, additional capital to Russian banks and financial companies.
rude oil rebounded on speculation that a slide in prices to a five-year low was excessive. Brent, the benchmark for half the world's oil, gained as much as 5.8 per cent after closing at the lowest level since May 2009 yesterday.
Ore with 62 per cent content delivered to Qingdao, China, lost 0.8 per cent to $US68.05 a dry metric ton on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Metal Bulletin Ltd. That's the lowest since June 2009, and extends this year's slump to 49 per cent.
US surged higher in afternoon trading after the Fed promised to be "patient" when it starts to lift interest rates.
The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.3 per cent, the largest decline since December 2008, after being flat in October. For the 12 months through November, the CPI increased 1.3 per cent, the smallest gain since February, after advancing 1.7 per cent in October.
FedEx posted lower-than-expected quarterly earnings as results at its FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight units missed estimates, and it reiterated an outlook analysts consider conservative, sending its stock down nearly 5 per cent.
European shares ended mixed in narrow trade ahead of the Fed statement.
A Reuters survey of more than 50 fund managers and strategists conducted in the past week predicted the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index would rise 13 per cent by the end of 2015.
The latest Reuters poll sees France's CAC reaching 4700 points by end-2015, up almost 15 per cent from Tuesday's close, while Germany's DAX is seen moving above a record high reached earlier this month to reach 10,800 points by end-2015, up almost 13 per cent from Tuesday's close.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's bid to elect a new head of state faltered in parliament after he failed to gather enough support from lawmakers for his nominee in the first of three attempts.
What happened yesterday
Australian shares have broken a six-day losing streak with a surprise gain. The market was tipped to fall on Wednesday, after crude oil prices continued their slide.