US tech stocks take a beating: ASX set to open lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

Following mostly negative leads, the Australian share market looks set for lacklustre start to the day. Tech stocks on the Nasdaq suffered in Thursday’s trade, tempering a rally in financial stocks elsewhere. Goodwill off the back of the OPEC deal continued to flow into the energy sector, while positive data on the manufacturing front buoyed the Dow.

US economic news

Data out from the U.S. Department of Labor yesterday showed an increase in jobless claims of 17 thousand in November, pushing the total for the month to 268,000. However there was good news on the manufacturing front, with the sectors Purchasing Manager Index edging higher, coming in at 53.2 for November. Construction spending also ticked upwards in October, growing 0.5 percent in October to $1.173 trillion.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Thursday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to close at 19,192, the S&P 500 fell 0.35 per cent to close at 2,191 and the NASDAQ dropped 1.4 per cent to close at 5,251.

European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE fell 1.1 per cent, Paris dropped 0.5 per cent and Frankfurt tumbled 1 per cent.

Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.7 per cent.

The Australian share market closed higher on Thursday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 60 points up to finish at 5,500. On the futures market the SPI is 10 points down.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:10AM was buying $US74.17 cents, 58.91 Pence Sterling, 84.6 Yen and 69.59 Euro cents.

Local economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics are retail sales for October. Analysts are expecting a 0.3 percent jump on September’s numbers.

Company news

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited (ASX:FPH) has announced it has been successful in German court proceedings bought against its German subsidiary by ResMed. The courts have overturned an early injunction that prevented the company from selling a number of its healthcare products in Germany. Shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited closed 0.64 percent up yesterday at $7.87.

Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) has announced it has settled a dispute with Amara Mining groups contractor BDM International Limited. Under the terms of the settlement Perseus has agreed to pay BCM US$20 million, with $5 million payable immediately. Shares in Perseus Mining Limited closed 3.42 percent lower yesterday at $0.57.

Ex-Dividends

1 company is going ex-dividend today: Australian Governance Fund (ASX:AQF) will pay 2 cents fully franked.

Commodities

Gold was steady at $US1,174 an ounce for the February contract on Comex.
Silver has gained $0.09 to $16.57 for March.
Copper is flat at $2.63 a pound for March.
Oil has risen $1.51 to $US50.95 a barrel for January light crude in New York.