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5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Friday. Here are the five things I’m looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has added 0.2% in early trade, after the US S&P 500 climbed to a record high overnight. The Dow Jones gained 0.4% as further signs emerged of a slowly recovering US economy.
    As Jeff Kravetz, regional investment director at US Bank’s Private Client Reserve told Bloomberg,
    “The market is really in a sweet spot for US stocks, fundamentals continue to be very good.”
  2. Oil and gas producer Santos Limited (ASX: STO) has increased its first half dividend by 33%, as the company’s push into LNG starts to pay benefits. Chief executive David Knox says the company has seen its highest oil production for six years, with sales at record highs. Shares in Santos were 3.3% higher in early trading.
  3. Nearmap Limited (ASX: NEA) shares have soared 18.5% to 46.2 cents, after the aerial photomapping company produced its first full year profit of $7 million. The company has plans to expand into the US, with more details expected later this year. Nearmap is one of my favourite small cap stocks, one I mentioned in Fairfax Media back in May last year as one to watch.
  4. Tweet of the day


    Hard to believe the internet is 22 years young.

  5. Stock of the day is brought to you by Ryan Newman – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA). Ryan says there remain significant concerns the shares are overpriced, and notes that David Murray, head of the Financial System Inquiry, has warned the banks that there was potential for a big correction at some point in future.

While Santos and many others are raising their dividends, here's one company that has yet to report, but could also surprise the market with an uplift in the dividend. Now may be the perfect time to jump onboard. Every year, Motley Fool investment advisor Scott Phillips hand-picks 1 ASX dividend stock with outstanding potential. Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Dividend Stock for 2014-2015" today.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Santos and Nearmap. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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