After falling to a six month closing low last week the Australian share market looks set to widen losses this morning. Investors continue to cautiously eye developments in Europe ahead of Greece's June 17 elections and jitters over Spanish banks. US markets will pause on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday public holiday ahead of US jobs data due at the end of this week.
US economic news
Consumer sentiment in America lifted this month. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 79.3 in May from 76.4 last month, hitting a four year high and beating expectations.
Wall Street managed to close higher last week despite falling on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 75 points to close at 12,455, the S&P500 lost 3 points to close at 1,318 and the Nasdaq lost 2 points to close at 2,838.
European markets rose on Friday: London’s FTSE added 1.48 points, Paris added 9.69 points and Frankfurt added 24 points.
Asian markets finished mixed on Friday: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 47 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 17 and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 17 points.
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 17 points over last week and dropped 27 points, or 0.7 per cent, on Friday to finish the week at 4,029. On the futures market the SPI is now 13 points lower.
The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying 97.54 US cents, 62.29 Pence Sterling, 77.67 Yen and 77.92 Euro cents.
National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB): Quarterly online retail sales index
Reserve Bank of Australia’s governor Glenn Stevens: To adress the Australian Payments Clearing Association’s 20th Anniversary Symposium in Sydney
Stocks to watch
News Corp’s (ASX:NWS) Australian arm News Limited is reportedly preparing to slash up to 400 editorial jobs in an effort to cut costs. According to Fairfax Media the job losses are days away from being announced and come as part of a structural reorganisation that was flagged to News staff last month. News has not denied or confirmed the reports but says it is undergoing a substantial transformation. Shares in News Corp rose 1.37 per cent on Friday, closing at $20.00.
Northern Iron Limited (ASX:NFE) has been granted a new emissions permit for its project in Norway. The iron ore developer says the permit should ensure it has all the necessary environmental approvals in place to run operations at a 2.8 million tonne per annum concentrate production rate for the expected 25 year mine life. The company also last week inked a deal with Tata Steel to increase its offtake volume. Shares in Northern Iron jumped 6.15 per cent before the announcement was made on Friday, finishing the week at $0.95.
Infratil Limited (ASX:IFZ)
Orica Limited (ASX:ORI)
Ruralco Holdings Limited (ASX:RHL)
Gold is up $1.00 to $US1,569 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.23 to $28.39 for July.
Copper is up $0.02 at $3.45 a pound.
Oil is up $0.20 at $90.86 a barrel for June light crude in New York.