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5 things to watch on the ASX on Tuesday

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) had a solid start to the week on Monday and pushed 0.3% higher to 5,886 points.

Will it be able to build on this on Tuesday before the break for ANZAC day? Here are five things that could shape the day:

ASX futures pointing higher.

The latest SPI futures are pointing to the ASX opening higher on Tuesday. Futures are currently up 8 points or 0.1% at the time of writing despite a mixed day on U.S. markets. In late trade the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down slightly, the S&P 500 is marginally higher, and the Nasdaq is down 0.2%.

Fortescue’s quarterly update is due to be released.

This morning iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) will be on watch when it releases its quarterly update. All eyes will be on the discount that Fortescue is accepting for its low-grade iron ore in comparison to the 62% benchmark fines. This discount has been widening significantly over the last 12 months, weighing heavily on investor sentiment and Fortescue’s profitability.

The aluminium price has collapsed.

Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) shares could come under pressure on Tuesday after the aluminium price gave back a large portion of its recent gains. According to the London Metals Exchange, the aluminium price fell 8.5% overnight to US$2,278 per tonne. Prices fell after the Trump administration signalled that it could ease sanctions against Russian aluminium producer Rusal.

Inflation data due to drop.

This morning the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the Consumer Price Index report for the March quarter. The majority of economists are not expecting underlying inflation to land in the 2% to 3% target range set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. However, if the data surprises then it could shift interest rate expectations very quickly.

Oil prices continue to rise.

It has been another positive day of trade for oil prices. The latest data shows that Brent crude oil is up 1.2% to US$74.91 per barrel and WTI crude oil is 0.7% higher to US$68.88 per barrel. The shutdown of a Libyan pipeline and reports of 19 oil tankers being held hostage in Yemen have helped boost prices, much to the dismay of oil guzzling companies such as Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and Sealink Travel Group Ltd (ASX: SLK).

Dividends rising.

These shares have been increasing their dividends and could continue to do so. Is it time to buy?

Breaking news: ASX companies set to raise dividends!

It's been a nail-biter of a reporting season here in the first half of 2018.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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