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5 things you need to know today

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Published on: Friday, April 21, 2017

  • Wall Street rallied yesterday on the back of better-than-expected earnings results. According to Thomson Reuters data, of the 57 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, about 75% have exceeded expectations (AAP). The Dow Jones rose 174 points or 0.9% to 20578.71, the S&P 500 rose 17.67 points or 0.8% to 2355.84, and the Nasdaq rose 53.7 points or 0.9% to a record high 5916.78.
  • Major Australian retailers have been anticipating the arrival of retail behemoth Amazon for many years and have plans in place to defend themselves. The Australian Financial Review reports that loyalty programs, data analytics and in-store experiences are some of the “weapons of choice” that retailers will use to protect sales and earnings. Yesterday, Amazon confirmed it will be rolling out its full retail offering in Australia over the next few years. “It’s something all retailers face, this is not something that has come out of the blue,” Super Retail Group’s chief executive, Peter Birtles, told the AFR.
  • Macquarie Group has increased its exposure to renewable energy after acquiring Britain’s Green Investment Bank for $A3.92 billion. According to The Australian, Macquarie Group is leading the consortium acquiring the bank including Macquarie’s European Infrastructure Fund 5 and Britain’s Universities Superannuation Scheme. The Green Investment Bank – which Macquarie has been interested in for more than 6 months - will become Macquarie’s platform for principle investments in British and European Green Infrastructure (The Australian).
  • After a volatile trading session, global oil prices ended flat. The likelihood that OPEC production cuts will be extended past June were offset by geopolitical uncertainties and rising US production. OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait suggested that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia were likely to extend their oil output cuts (AAP). Brent crude rose US6 cents or 0.1% to US$52.99 a barrel, while US Nymex fell by US17 cents or 0.3% to US$50.27 a barrel.
  • At 0706 AEST on Friday, the share price futures index was up 30 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 5,833.

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