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Foolish Preview: US markets up, good news for the ASX

On US Markets overnight, all three indices rose with The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 0.7%, the S&P 500 Index up 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite Index 0.7% higher. US crude oil recovered to above $80 per barrel and stronger than expected orders for US durable goods both had a positive impact on the markets.

The National Association of Realtors said signed contracts for home purchases increased 5.9% in May, the most in seven months – another indicator that the US housing market may be slowly recovering.

The Australian dollar was up slightly overnight, although still trading around parity with the US dollar.

In commodities news, gold was up 0.2% to US$1575.16 an ounce.

Google has moved into the tablet computer space, unveiling the “Nexus 7” tablet. The tablet will begin selling for around US$199 (AU$249 plus shipping) online from mid-July. Look out Microsoft, Samsung and Apple.

A good day ahead?

The ASX SPI futures closed up 28 points this morning, indicating the S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) could show a second consecutive day of gains.

The Housing Industry Association will today release new home sales data for May, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release job vacancy data for the May quarter.

Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS) will announce its 2012 financial year results today. The company’s share price has fallen 7% since announcing last week that it was moving to take full control of Mitre 10. All eyes will be on the company’s outlook, given the current tough trading conditions. As I write this the company has requested a trading halt, pending a capital raising – looks like things are tougher than ever.

Oil stocks could be in focus as JP Morgan yesterday cut its forecasts for oil prices in the second half of 2012. As a result, the broker slashed profit forecasts for Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) by 22%, Santos Limited (ASX: STO) by 26%, Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) by 28%, AWE Limited (ASX: AWE) by 46% and Roc Oil Company Limited (ASX: ROC) by 45%.

Foolish takeaway

With the European Union Summit starting tonight (our time), investors could become distracted, but remember to keep your eye on the prize, and don’t be distracted by the ‘noise’. Fool on!

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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in Woodside.   The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Take Stock  is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  Click here now  to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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