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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its strong run and climbed a further 1% to 5,778.3 points.

Will the benchmark index be able to build on this on Thursday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX futures pointing higher.

The latest SPI futures are pointing to another positive day of trade for the ASX 200. Futures contracts are currently indicating that the index will open 0.25% or 14 points higher on Thursday. This follows another strong night of trade on Wall Street overnight. Late in the session the Dow Jones is up 0.3%, the S&P 500 is 0.3% higher, and the Nasdaq is up over 0.6%.

Trade war talks wrap up.

According to CNBC, US-China trade talks concluded in Beijing overnight and the results will be released soon. One person that is optimistic on the talks is President Trump. He tweeted that: “Talks with China are going very well!” This news could be a boost to Australian shares with exposure to China such as A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) and Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE).

Oil prices surge higher.

Energy shares including Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) could be poised for another strong day of trade after oil prices surged higher overnight. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is up 4.8% to US$52.19 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has risen 4.4% to US$61.32 a barrel. Trade talks and confirmation from the Saudi Energy Minister that its oil production and exports will fall in the coming months have driven prices higher.

BHP shares trade ex-dividend.

The BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) share price is likely to drop around 4% lower on Thursday after trading ex-dividend this morning for its fully franked ~$1.43 per share special dividend. This special dividend is part of a capital return programme announced after the divestment of its U.S. shale assets and will be paid to eligible shareholders on January 30.

Healius takeover may not be dead.

The Healius Ltd (ASX: HLS) share price will be on watch on Thursday after reports indicated that Jangho’s pursuit of the company may not be over. According to the AFR, yesterday the Hong Kong listed company advised it would use to the proceeds of its Sundart stake sale to help fund its bid for Healius.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. 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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