5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) bounced back with a 0.7% gain to 6,245.1 points.

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

ASX futures pointing higher.

According to the latest SPI futures, the local share market is expected to open the day higher by 0.15% or 9 points. This follows a reasonably positive night of trade on Wall Street which saw the Dow Jones rise 0.3% and the S&P 500 climb 0.2%. The Nasdaq, however, edged slightly lower.

Oil prices rebound.

Shareholders of Australian energy shares including Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) will be relieved to learn that oil prices rebounded slightly overnight, putting an end to their slump. The WTI crude oil price rose 0.2% to US$68.92 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price climbed 1% to US$72.90 a barrel.

Local data.

Later today National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) will release its Business Survey for the second quarter of 2018. In the first quarter the business conditions index increased by 2pts to +17, its highest level since 2007. Whereas the Business confidence index was unchanged at +7 index points, which was a little above its historical average.

Earnings upgrade from Ainsworth Game Technology.

The shares of the Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (ASX: AGI) could be given a major boost today after the embattled gaming technology company upgraded its guidance. The company had recently advised that full-year profit before tax (excluding currency movements) was expected to be $36 million. But due to a late order increase from Churchill Downs Incorporated, this is now expected to come in at $39 million.

A2 Milk Company shares will be on watch.

A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) share price could be heading lower following the release of a broker note out of UBS. Although the broker is optimistic on its future, there are small concerns over falls in formula prices. The company’s New Zealand-listed shares are down 1.5% in early trade.

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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 National Australia Bank Limited. 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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