Flat Wednesday opening for ASX: Apple owes Ireland €13B

Market Reports

by David Chau

The local share market set to open flat when trading commences at the ASX. The Aussie dollar has weakened against the US greenback, and commodity prices are down this morning.

Wall Street finished lower overnight and will provide a weak lead as investors digested strong consumer data, and remain anxious about when the Fed will announce the next interest rate hike.

Meanwhile, shares in Apple fell sharply after the European Commission ordered the company to pay back up to 13 billion Euros in taxes to the Irish government. Apple and Ireland are expected to appeal this decision.

US economic news

The consumer confidence index for August rose to 101.1, which shows consumers were more optimistic than expected. This figure is an eleven-month high, and data like this makes the case for an interest rate rise stronger.

Markets

Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday: The Dow Jones lost 0.3 per cent to close at 18,454, the S&P 500 was down 0.2 per cent to close at 2,176 and the NASDAQ slipped 0.2 per cent to close at 5,223.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE was down 0.25%, Paris gained 0.75% and Frankfurt added 1.1%.

Asian markets closed mixed as well: the Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, the Hang Seng rose 0.85 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite added 0.15 percent.

The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 9 points up to finish at 5,478. This morning, on the futures market, the SPI is up 6 points.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying $US75.12 cents, 57.44 Pence, 77.38 Yen and 67.43 Euro cents.

Local economic news

The Reserve Bank will release July data on private sector credit today.  In June, private borrowing rose by 0.2%, which was below expectations. 

Earnings season

A number of companies, including Independence Group, Harvey Norman and Adelaide Brighton, will release their financial results today.

Company news

Global education provider, Navitas Ltd (ASX:NVT), has signed a 5-year deal with the University of Adelaide for its University pathway program. This deal will offer students of the Eynesbury College (who are studying diplomas, and foundation studies) a pathway to enter the university. Shares in Navitas closed 0.57 per cent higher at $5.30.

The Federal Government has granted Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) a second Innovations Connections Grant. The company will receive funding of $50,000 to help commercialise its Sileach process. Sileach is intended to be a new way to recover lithium without first needing to go through the expensive step of roasting. Shares in Lithium Australia closed 14.29 per cent higher at 20 cents.

Ex-dividends

A number of companies, including AMP, Fonterra Share Fund, Navitas and Star Entertainment Group, are going ex-dividend today.

Commodities

Gold has lost $13.30 to $US1,314 an ounce for the December contract on Comex.
Silver has lost $0.20 to $18.66 for September.
Copper is flat at $2.08 a pound for September.
Oil has lost $0.72 to $US46.26 a barrel for October light crude.