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: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened 0.3% higher, following leads from US markets overnight.
    The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all posted gains of around 0.4%. The S&P 500 has bounced 9.1% since October 15, with US companies beating analysts’ earnings estimates at the fastest pace in four years, according to Bloomberg.
    US economic data has also pointed to improvements in the US labour market and consumer sentiment – all of which is likely to strengthen the US dollar, and put further downward pressure on gold prices and foreign currencies, including the Aussie dollar.
  2. Foxtel and US media giant Discovery Communications are leading the race to pick up the struggling Ten Network Holdings Ltd (ASX: TEN). The free-to-air broadcaster and its advisor Citi are reported to be scheduling meetings next week with potential bidders.
    We mentioned this yesterday, but for at least the past two years, we’ve noted that Ten has needed to do something dramatic to turnaround its performance. Hopefully, a takeover will do that.

    Ten’s shares were up 6.5%, following yesterday’s surge.

  3. Oil and gas explorer and producer, Beach Energy Limited (ASX: BPT) has announced that it has found extremely large gas reserves in acreage it holds in Australia’s Cooper Basin. Managing director Reg Nelson told a business lunch yesterday that it could potential contain 600 trillion cubic feet or more of gas, and that even recovering a tiny percentage of that would be massive. Beach is working with US petroleum giant Chevron in the region, and is expected to spend an estimated $500 million on drilling to firm up the reserves.

    Beach shares were down slightly in early trading.

  4. Tweet of the Day

    How will Microsoft make any money? I’m sure the company knows…

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Ryan Newman – Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG). The iron ore miner’s shares were hammered yesterday, and with further iron ore price falls likely, this may not be the bottom. You can read Ryan’s view here.

Forget iron ore - you're more likely to get burnt investing in the sector now. Here's one idea that's much, much better.

Motley Fool investment advisor Scott Phillips has hand-picked 1 ASX stock that pays great fully franked dividends, has outstanding growth potential and a cheap price. Click here to download your free report today.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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