Outlook: Aus shares set to open steady

Market Reports

Following flat leads, the Australian share market looks set to open steady today.  Wall Street’s flat performance yesterday was supported by the strong performance of bank shares.  However, seven sectors finished in the red, with utilities being the worst performing sector in the US.
 
US economic news

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its April meeting, and signaled that interest rates could potentially rise in June if the economy continues to improve.

Markets
 
Wall Street closed flat yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by only 0.02 per cent to close at 17,527, the S&P 500 closed steady at 2,048 and the NASDAQ gained just 0.5 per cent to close at 4,739.
 
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE lost 0.03 per cent, Paris gained 0.5 per cent and Frankfurt gained 0.5 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 1.3 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 40 points down to finish at 5,356. On the futures market the SPI is 4 points down. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US0.7223 cents, 49.47 Pence Sterling, 79.58 Yen and 64.40 Euro cents.

Australian economic news

The ABS will release its latest unemployment figures later today.
 
Company news
 
Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP), has been awarded a $78 million contract to build Riverlight – Frasers Property’s latest luxury apartment project in Brisbane.  The company says that construction will begin in the third-quarter of this year and create more than 200 jobs.
 
Watpac shares closed 3.77 per cent down yesterday at $0.765. 
 
Phosphagenics Limited (ASX: POH) has expanded its agreement with Themis Medicare Limited for its Diclofenac anti-inflammatory gel to be sold in a further 16 countries in Asia and Africa.  Currently, Themis has exclusive rights to sell this product in India.  However, it will soon be selling it in Kenya, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Vietnam and many other countries.
 
Phosphogenics shares gained 22.73% per cent yesterday, and last traded at $0.027. 
 
Ex-dividends

One company is going ex-dividend today: Ausnet Services will pay a dividend of 4.26 cents, fully franked.
 
Commodities
Gold has lost $2.50 to $US1,274 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver has lost $0.12 to $17.13 for July.
Copper has lost $0.01 at $2.08 a pound.
Oil has lost $0.30 to $US48.78 a barrel for June light crude in New York.

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