Outlook: Aus shares set to open lower

Market Reports

Following weak overseas leads, the Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower. The utilities sector led Wall Street lower, as investors begin to price in what is expected to be a weak quarterly reporting season for US companies. 
 
Meanwhile the US Dollar extended gains on signs the services sector is doing better than expected. The ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI beat expectations, coming in at 54.5 for March.

Markets

Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.8 per cent to close at 17603, the S&P 500 lost 1 per cent to close at 2,045 and the NASDAQ lost almost 1 per cent to close at 4,844.
 
European markets closed  lower: London’s FTSE lost 1.2 per cent, Paris lost 2.2 per cent and Frankfurt fell 2.6 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 2.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.6 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 1.5 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 71 points down to finish at 4,924. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points down. 

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US0.7540 cents, 53.25 Pence Sterling, 83.18 Yen and 66.24 Euro cents.

Company news
 
National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) has entered into arrangements to acquire a self storage asset in Darwin for approximately $10.75 million, to be funded from NSR’s debt facility. The asset comprises two facilities with over 600 units across 5,800 sqm of net lettable area with potential for future growth. Shares in National Storage REIT closed 1.89 per cent lower yesterday at $1.56.  
 
Australian Leaders Fund Limited (ASX:ALF) has estimated that the fund’s gross portfolio increased in value by approximately 1.91 percent in March 2016, before fees and tax. The company noted the All Ordinaries Accumulation Index increased by 4.74 percent. Shares in Australian Leaders Fund closed 1.78 per cent up yesterday at $1.43  

Ex-dividends
 
3 companies are going ex-dividend today: GBST Holdings will pay 5.5 cents fully franked. Naos Emerging Opportunities will pay 3.3 cents fully franked, while Sigma Pharmaceutical will pay 3 cents fully franked. 

Commodities
 
Gold has gained $13.60 to $US1,233 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver has gained $0.20 to $15.14 for May. Copper is steady at $2.14 a pound.
Oil has gained $0.86 to $US36.56 a barrel for May light crude in New York.