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5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Thursday. 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 opened flat, after mixed results on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones up 0.1%, and the S&P 500 index down 0.1%.
    But the bull market could be about to roar, as an estimated $68 billion worth of dividends tries to find a home. Broker Credit Suisse says around $10 billion of that went to self-managed super funds alone. And Goldman Sachs equity strategist Matthew Ross noted investors’ love-affair with dividends continues,

    “It’s still a market that really likes defensive, high yield income streams.”

  2. Iron ore continues its slide, losing another 1.2% overnight to US$85.70 per tonne – another five-year low. The fall from above US$120 a tonne has wreaked havoc with junior miners’ share prices over the past six months. BC Iron Limited (ASX: BCI) is down 53%, Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX: MGX) has lost 26%, while Atlas Iron Limited (ASX: AGO) is down more than 44%.
    At current or lower prices, all three may well be loss-making, unless they can dramatically cut production costs further. They could be forced into action very soon, with rising supply and falling demand showing no signs of ending.
  3. On the bright side, nickel miners like Western Areas Limited (ASX: WSA), Independence Group (ASX: IGO) and Panoramic Resources Limited (ASX: PAN) could surge today, after a Philippines senator called for the ban on nickel ore exports. Nickel prices jumped to a four week high on the London Metal Exchange, at US$19,075 a tonne overnight.
    We highlighted the rising nickel price and nickel miners and explorers that could benefit back in April. Since then, Western Areas and Panoramic are up 24% and 37% respectively.
  4. Tweet of the Day


    Will bank share prices be smashed? A number of headwinds seem to be rising.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Tim McArthur – Amcom Telecommunications Ltd (ASX: AMM). Tim says Amcom is a better bet than Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS), and you can find out why in his article.

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

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