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5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) bounced back with a solid 0.5% gain to 6,025.1 points thanks to strong performances in the energy and materials sectors.

Will the local market be able to build on this gain on Thursday? Here are five things that could shape the day’s trade:

ASX futures are pointing to a positive day ahead.

According to the latest SPI futures, the Australian share market is expected to open the day higher by 0.5% or 30 points on Thursday. This follows an extremely positive night of trade on Wall Street which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb a sizeable 1.4%, the S&P 500 rise 0.9%, and the NASDAQ push 0.7% higher.

U.S. banks on the rise.

The main driver of the rise on Wall Street was the U.S. banking sector. The shares of J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley all rose by more than 2%, while Goldman Sachs pushed 1.7% despite there being no apparent catalyst. Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) shares will be on watch today following these gains.

Oil prices were mixed.

Overnight U.S. crude oil inventories data was released and revealed an increase of 2.1 million barrels, compared to expectations of a decline in inventories. This led to the WTI crude oil price falling 0.8% to US$64.99 a barrel. The Brent crude oil price managed to push higher and was up 0.5% to US$75.78 a barrel. This could put a bit of pressure on the shares of Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) today.

Economic date release.

Hot on the heels of the GDP data release on Wednesday, later today Australian trade balance data will be unveiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. According to Bloomberg, economists are expecting a trade surplus of $1 billion. The Australian dollar could strengthen further against the U.S. dollar on a strong result.

Shares going ex-dividend this morning.

The shares of Kathmandu Holdings Ltd (ASX: KMD), OFX Group Ltd (ASX: OFX), and Salmat Limited (ASX: SLM) are likely to drop lower today after going ex-dividend this morning. Eligible Kathmandu and OFX shareholders can look forward to receiving their respective 3.2 cents and 3 cents per share dividends on June 22, whereas eligible Salmat shareholders will have to wait until July 5 for its 8 cents per share dividend.

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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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