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Morning Update - Wednesday 15 July, 2015

The SPI futures are pointing to a positive start for the Aussie market today, after U.S. markets extended gains to a fourth consecutive session overnight. American stocks steadily drifted higher as traders took stock of disappointing June retail sales numbers and how the data factor into the Federal Reserve’s plans for a rate hike. Sales at retailers fell 0.3% last month, while the prior two months’ results were cut. Weaker economic growth may delay the first rate hikes as the Federal Reserve tries to find a balance between normalizing rates and accommodating an uneven recovery. The S&P 500 added 9.4 points (+0.5%) to close at 2,109. The Dow Jones gained 75.9 points (+0.4%) to close at 18,053.6. The Nasdaq moved up 33.4 points (+0.7%) to finish at 5,104.9. In the commodity space, gold shed 0.2%, iron ore slipped 0.5% and Brent crude added 0.9%. The Aussie dollar firmed overnight and this morning is fetching 74.5 U.S. cents.