Outlook: SPI points lower despite offshore gains

Market Reports

The SPI is pointing to a lower start for the Australian share market despite offshore gains. As traders approach the Christmas break trading volumes are thinning. Commodity prices have again weakened following a strong session yesterday. The oil price has retreated more than 3 per cent and the price of gold and iron ore have both fallen almost 2 per cent. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street lifted into the new week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9 per cent to close at 17,959, the S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to close at 2,079 and the Nasdaq rose 0.3 per cent to close at 4,781.
 
European markets ended higher on Monday: London's FTSE 100 added 0.5 per cent, France's CAC 40 added 0.3 per cent and Germany's DAX added 0.8 per cent.
 
Asian markets gained ground yesterday: Japan’s Nikkei firmed 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite improved 0.6 per cent.
 
The Australian share market advanced almost 2 per cent into the new week: The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 103 points to close at 5,442 on Monday. On the futures market the SPI is 16 points lower. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar at 8:20am was buying $US0.8128, 52.17 Pence Sterling, 97.57 Yen and 66.49 Euro cents.
 
Company news
 
Shares in New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX:NHC) rose after announcing the continuation of the New Acland Coal Mine in Queensland. The diversified energy group says Stage 3 of the mine has now been approved which will provide an extra boost of $12 billion to local, state and national economies over the life of the mine. The revised project plan will expand the life of the current operation to about 2029. Shares in New Hope Corporation rose 5.53 per cent to close at $2.48 on Monday following the announcement. 
 
Shares in Seymour Whyte Limited (ASX:SWL) jumped after revealing it has scored more than $180 million in new contracts. The infrastructure, engineering and construction company says while its first half market outlook remains soft it has continued to outperform in maintaining a healthy order book. The recent project wins have strengthened Seymour Whyte’s current forward order book to $410 million. Shares in Seymour Whyte jumped 12.4 per cent to close at $1.45 on Monday following the announcement. 
 
Ex-dividends 
 
G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) paying a 6 cent fully franked dividend.  

Commodities 

Gold has declined $22.50 to $US1,174 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. 
Silver has slipped $0.40 to $15.63 for March.
Copper has dropped $0.01 to $2.87 a pound. 
Oil has lost $1.86 to $US55.27 a barrel for January light crude in New York.