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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) returned to form on Wednesday and stormed higher. The benchmark index climbed 1.5% to 5,393.4 points.

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

ASX 200 expected to surge higher.

It looks set to be a very positive day for the ASX 200 index on Thursday. According to the latest futures contracts, the ASX 200 is expected to surge 101 points or 1.9% higher at the open. This follows a strong night on Wall Street which saw the Dow Jones rise 2.2%, the S&P 500 climb 2.65%, and the Nasdaq index storm 3.6% higher. Positive data from Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir coronavirus trial sent the market racing higher.

ANZ half year update.

All eyes will be on the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price today when the banking giant releases its half year result. According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, its analysts expect ANZ to deliver cash earnings from continued operations (pre-one offs) of $2,193 million. This will be down 39% on the prior corresponding period. The broker isn’t expecting ANZ to pay an interim dividend.

Oil prices rocket higher.

Energy producers such as Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) will be on watch today after oil prices jumped higher on a smaller than expected inventory build. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price has rocketed 25.3% higher to US$15.46 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price jumped 11.8% to US$20.74 a barrel.

Woolworths third quarter update.

Hot on the heels of the third quarter update by Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) on Wednesday, Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) is scheduled to release its own update this morning. According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, it expects Woolworths to deliver a 10.2% increase in total third quarter sales to $16,423 million. This is expected to be driven by a 12% increase in comparable Food sales and a 6% lift in its Endeavour Drinks (Liquor) sales.

Gold price pushes higher.

Gold miners including Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) could be on the rise on Thursday after the gold price pushed higher. According to CNBC, the spot gold price is up 0.5% to US$1,730.40 an ounce. This follows news that the Federal Reserve plans to keep rates near zero for the foreseeable future.

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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 COLESGROUP DEF SET and Woolworths 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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