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A crude rally

Surging oil and base metal prices lifted sentiment in overnight trades. Share traders responded with buying that took the US S&P 500 index to a new all-time high. The positive moves are likely to support shares across the Asia Pacific region today. However, early reports of a significant earthquake off the coast of Japan and a subsequent tsunami warning may dampen local enthusiasm.

Resurgent industrial commodity demand is based on factors in the globe’s two largest economies. The targeted stimulus program enacted by China earlier this year and the promise of a massive post-inauguration infrastructure spend in the US has taken the slack out of markets for oil, coal, copper, iron ore and other base metals. The catalyst of positive talk around a potential OPEC supply agreement may eventually disappoint, but the improvement in demand is sustainable. The focus on commodities could see the Australian share market lead the region today.

Local investors may seek exposure to that theme as Boral resumes trading following a capital-raising to fund a building materials acquisition in the US. At this stage there is no notice of a re-opening time. However, the current market drivers suggest a healthy appetite for the institutional placement at $4.85 versus a previous traded price of $6.15. It would be both surprising and disappointing if the deal is not already bedded down.

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