5 things to watch on the ASX on Wednesday

On Tuesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its fine form and pushed through the 6,000-points mark for the first time in two months.

The benchmark index finished the day 0.5% higher at 6,015.2 points.

Will the index be able to build on this on Wednesday? Here are five things that could shape today’s trade:

ASX futures are pointing higher.

According to the latest SPI futures, the local market is poised to open the day 7 points or 0.1% higher on Wednesday after a reasonably positive night of trade on Wall Street. Although the Dow Jones finished the day lower by 0.3%, the S&P 500 was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq climbed a solid 0.9% higher.

Apple beats expectations.

After the U.S. markets closed global tech giant Apple released its second-quarter results which came in ahead of expectations. Apple achieved revenue of US$61.1 billion during the period, up 15.5% on the prior corresponding period and ahead of consensus estimates by US$160 million. A key driver was iPhone shipments of 52.2 million, up from 50.8 million last year. This could be a positive for Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS).

Qantas third-quarter update release.

This morning Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) is expected to release a third-quarter update and provide its full-year profit before tax guidance. According to Goldman Sachs, the market is expecting the airline to achieve profit before tax of $1,550 million for FY 2018. Any guidance below or above this level could cause a share price reaction.

Oil prices tumbled.

The shares of energy producers such as BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH), and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) could weigh on the market today after oil prices slipped notably lower. Brent crude oil fell 1.9% to US$73.31 a barrel and WTI crude oil dropped 1.6% to US$67.48 a barrel after BP warned that prices looked “frothy” and could be set for a pullback. Gold and copper prices also sank lower.

Australian dollar falls below 75 U.S. cents.

The Australian dollar has slipped to 74.9 U.S. cents this morning after the U.S. dollar continued to strengthen. The greenback has been gaining on hawkish interest rate expectations ahead of the Fed’s meeting tomorrow. The weaker Australian dollar could be a positive for companies that generate significant revenue in North America such as Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) and Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH).

And here are three buy-rated blue chip shares to watch this month.

Top 3 ASX Blue Chips To Buy In 2018

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple and Cochlear Ltd. 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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