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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

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On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) was back on form and charged higher. The benchmark index climbed 0.5% to 6,856.9 points.

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

ASX 200 futures pointing lower

It looks set to be a tough day for the Australian share market on Thursday. According to the latest SPI futures, the benchmark index is expected to open the day 0.5% or 32 points lower this morning. This follows a poor night of trade on Wall Street, which in late trade sees the Dow Jones up 0.05%, the S&P 500 down 0.1%, and the Nasdaq down 0.25%.

Telstra half year update

The Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price will be on watch today when it releases its half year results. According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, it expects Telstra to report an 8% decline in revenue to $12,318 million and a 15% decline EBITDA to $3,971 million. Despite this, the broker is forecasting the Telstra board to maintain its fully franked 8 cents per share interim dividend.

Oil prices continue to rise

Energy shares such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) could have a positive day after oil prices pushed higher once again. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is up 0.5% to US$58.64 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has climbed 0.6% higher to US$61.45 a barrel. Oil has now had its longest rally in two years amid hopes that vaccines will lift demand.

ASX Ltd update

The ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) share price will be one to watch today when it hands in its half year results. According to Morgans, it expects the stock exchange operator to report a net profit after tax of $240 million. From this, the broker is expecting the ASX board to declare an interim dividend of $1.11 per share. This follows a mixed half which is believed to have been weighed down by weaker Futures volumes.

Gold price edges higher

It could be a positive day for gold miners such as Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX: NCM) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) after the gold price edged higher again. According to CNBC, the spot gold price is up 0.3% to US$1,843.10 an ounce. This was driven by further US dollar weakness and stimulus optimism. Newcrest is also releasing its half year results this morning.

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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 and has recommended Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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