5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Wednesday

On Tuesday the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) started the week on a disappointing note. It finished the day 0.5% lower at 5,874.2 points due largely to declines in the banking sector from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and the rest of the big four.

Will the market be able to bounce back on Wednesday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX futures pointing higher.

The Australian share market is expected to rebound on Wednesday with SPI futures currently pointing to a gain of 0.5% or 29 points at the open. This follows a reasonably mixed night of trade on Wall Street overnight. Late in the session the Dow Jones is up 0.25%, the S&P 500 is down 0.1%, and the Nasdaq has fallen almost 0.7%.

BHP special dividend.

Eligible shareholders of BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) will be paid its special US$1.02 per share dividend today. The mining giant will pay its shareholders a massive US$5.2 billion, bringing its total cash returned to shareholders to US$21 billion over the last two years. A good portion of these funds could find their way back into the market this week.

GUD results.

The GUD Holdings Limited (ASX: GUD) share price will be on watch today when the retail conglomerate releases its interim results. In FY 2018 GUD posted underlying net profit after tax from continuing operations of $55.2 million, up 20% on the prior year. Management provided no specific guidance for FY 2019 but advised that its expects further improvement in its financial performance.

Oil prices rebound.

Energy shares including Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) started the week in the red on Tuesday after oil prices crumbled. The good news for these companies is that oil prices rebounded overnight after President Trump slapped a de facto oil ban on Venezuela. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is up 2.2% to US$53.16 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price climbed 2.3% to US$61.30 a barrel.

Inflation data.

The Australian dollar will be on watch today when inflation data for the December quarter is released. Inflation is widely expected to fall well short of the RBA’s target range largely because of the sudden and sharp drop in petrol prices. Economists have predicted CPI of 1.7%.

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