Outlook: Aus shares set to open lower

Market Reports

The Australian sharemarket is poised to open lower as a fall in healthcare and energy shares pushed Wall Street to a loss for the day, despite China officials moving to stimulate. A bounce-back in utilities stocks helped US stocks finish February higher after a shocker first month of 2016.
 
US pending home sales slipped 2.5 percent in January. Data released by the National Association of Realtors showed an index read of 106 in January versus 108.7 in December.

Markets
 
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7 per cent to close at 16,517, the S&P 500 lost 0.8 per cent to close at 1,932 and the NASDAQ lost 0.7 per cent to close at 4,558.
 
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE was flat, Paris gained 0.9 per cent and Frankfurt lost 0.2 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 2.9 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed flatyesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 1 point up to finish at 4,881. On the futures market the SPI is 12 points down. 

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying $US0.7142 cents, 51.34 Pence Sterling, 80.54 Yen and 65.68 Euro cents.

Economic news
 
The Reserve Bank of Australia is tipped to leave interest rates on hold at 2 percent as the board gathers for its March meeting today. The central bank is also scheduled to release commodity price data for February alongside Building approvals data for January, due for release from the ABS.
 
Company news
 
Meridian Energy Limited (ASX:MEZ) has launched a fixed rate retail bond offer. The energy company is offering up to NZ$100 million unsecured, unsubordinated fixed rate bonds to institutional and New Zealand retail investors. The bonds are expected to be quoted on the NZX Debt Market and have a long term credit rating of BBB+ from Standard & Poor’s. Shares in Meridian Energy closed 5.13 per cent lower yesterday at $2.22.  
 
Orora Limited (ASX:ORA) has acquired US firm IntegraColor Limited for US$77 million. IntegraColor is a US provider of point of purchase retail display solutions and other visual communications services. The acquisition price represents a multiple of 6.9 times historic EBITDA. Shares in Orora closed 1.72 per cent lower yesterday at $2.28.  

Ex-dividends

Name Code Date Amount(cents) Franking
Asaleo Care Limited AHY 1/03/16 6.0 0
AMP Limited AMP 1/03/16 14.0 90
Alumina Limited AWC 1/03/16 2.5 100
Bendigo and Adelaide BEN 1/03/16 34.0 100
Bega Cheese Ltd BGA 1/03/16 4.5 100
Event Hospitality EVT 1/03/16 20.0 100
Fairfax Media Ltd FXJ 1/03/16 2.0 50
HFA Holdings Limited HFA 1/03/16 7.0 0
Infomedia Ltd IFM 1/03/16 1.7 0
Iselect Ltd ISU 1/03/16 1.0 100
Kina Securities Ltd KSL 1/03/16 2.8 0
MNF Group Ltd MNF 1/03/16 3.5 100
Perpetual Limited PPT 1/03/16 125.0 100
Platinum Asset PTM 1/03/16 16.0 100
Telstra Corporation. TLS 1/03/16 15.5 100
Us Residential Fund USR 1/03/16 3.0 0

Commodities
 
Gold has gained $17.80 to $US1,238 an ounce for the April contract on Comex.
Silver has gained $0.20 to $14.91 for March.
Copper has lost $0.001 to $2.13 a pound for May.
Oil has gained $1.19 to $US33.97 a barrel for April light crude in New York.