5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Wednesday. 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 slightly lower, down 0.1% despite decent gains in offshore markets.On Wall Street overnight, The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all gained 0.6%. The Dow Jones hit another record all-time high as the US economy continues to show signs of recovery.Construction spending grew more than expected in October, while unemployment in the US held steady at 5.8%.
  2. Giant supermarket retailer Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) has announced an expansion into China, with the acquisition of a large alcoholic drinks distributor, called Summergate.It’s the first real move by the retailer to expand operations offshore. Back in 2013, Woolworths backed away from buying Hong Kong grocery chain ParknShop, which was being sold for between $3 and $4 billion.It is understood that Woolies withdrew over concerns that the price was overly inflated, much to the relief of many shareholders, myself included. We covered that in more detail here.
  3. The oil price slump is expected to be good news for Australia’s LNG producers, including Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Origin Energy Ltd  (ASX: ORG) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO).The lower oil price makes new LNG developments less likely to go ahead around the world, meaning less competition. But it also has the effect of lowering their margins in the short term.Given most Australian LNG projects will be producing gas for decades, they will benefit over the medium to long-term.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    The broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN) may have received offers – but news reports suggest any offer is likely to be around 25 cents – not much of a gain for long suffering shareholders.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Andrew Mudie – Global Health Limited (ASX: GLH). A small software company specialising in products for the health care sector, saw its shares surge by 18% yesterday and more gains could be on the way next year. You can read why here.


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

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