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5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its positive run and pushed 0.26% higher to 6,108 points.

This means the benchmark index has now climbed an impressive 4.2% since this time last month.

Will the local market be able to continue its run on Thursday? Here are five things that could impact today’s trade:

ASX futures are pushing higher.

According to the latest SPI futures, the Australian share market is set to follow the lead of U.S. markets and climb higher today. At the time of writing SPI futures point to the market opening 0.3% or 21 points higher. Overnight the Dow Jones ended 0.75% higher, the S&P 500 was up close to 1%, and the Nasdaq was also up 1%.

Oil prices hit three-year highs.

The key driver of the gains on Wall Street overnight were rising oil prices which rallied to a three-and-a-half-year high on the back of potential Iran sanctions. According to Bloomberg, WTI crude oil rose 3.2% to US$71.30 a barrel and Brent crude oil leapt 3.4% higher to US$77.40 a barrel. This will be great news for energy producers including Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), and Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH).

Result releases.

This morning accounting software platform provider Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) is due to release its full-year results to the market. Yesterday its shares hit a new 52-week high of $41.37, indicating that investors are confident in a strong result today. In addition to Xero, Pendal Group Limited (ASX: PDL) (formerly known as BT Investment Management) is expected to release its half-year result.

Commonwealth Bank will be on watch.

The shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) will be on watch on Thursday. Yesterday the banking giant released a disappointing third-quarter update which led to its shares falling around 3%. Shareholders will be hoping for a rebound this morning, but that may depend on what brokers have to say.

Bond proxies could be under pressure.

U.S. bond yields widened overnight on the back of expectations that rising oil prices could lead to quicker than expected inflation in the United States. The 10-year Treasury yield rose above the symbolic 3% level once again. This could put pressure on bond proxies such as Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) and Macquarie Atlas Roads Limited (ASX: MQA).

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. 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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