The Australian share market looks to open flat, defying negative leads from US markets with the major indices closing in the red. The Dow Jones snapped its 12-day winning streak as investors eagerly await President Donald Trump’s speech and parse through weaker than expected GDP data. The S&P 500 declined 0.26% with Target shares dragging discretionaries down, while the tech heavy Nasdaq also fell.
Despite negative Wall Street data, our local market is awaiting a suite of what is expected to be positive economic news.
US economic news
US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew less than expected to 1.9% per annum in the four quarter 2016 reading.
While, US consumer confidence advanced to 114.8 in Feb beating estimates of 111.
This is the highest confidence level reached since 2001.
Also in the US, monthly home prices rose to 2.5 year high. The US Case Shiller National Home Prices Index firmed to 5.8% year-on-year in December 2016.
Local economic news
We are expecting The Australian Bureau of Statistics to report on the economic growth for the December quarter, with predictions we will see an expansion of 0.7% in the quarter, compared to prior corresponding periods contraction.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year is tipped to marginally improve to 1.9% growth per annum.
Also out today is the AIG Manufacturing Index for February, which is widely expected to rise to a reading of 54.6 from 51.2.
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1 per cent to close at 20,812, the S&P 500 lost 0.3 per cent to close at 2,364 and the NASDAQ lost 0.6 per cent to close at 5,825.
European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE rose 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt rose 0.1 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 per cent.
And back home, the Australian share market closed lower on Tuesday: the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 12 points down to finish at 5,712. On the futures market the SPI is down 6 points.
Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) has announced net loss after tax of US$40.8 million for the six months to 31 December 2016. The gold producer says it represents a 230% fall from the prior corresponding period. Medusa Mining says its follows significant decreases in gold production. The company also reported a US$32.7 million loss in its EBITDA, while its basis EPS also fell to loss. Shares in Medusa Mining fell 9.33% to $0.34 yesterday
There are quite a few companies are going ex-dividend today: Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC), Crown Resorts Limited(ASX:CWN), HeloWorld Limited (ASX:HLO), Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT) and Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS).
Currencies and the Australian Dollar
At 8.30am The Australian Dollar was buying 76.53 US cents, 61.80 Pence Sterling, 86.32 Yen and 72.36 Euro cents.
Gold has lost $9.70 to $US1,249 an ounce.
Silver has lost 7 cents to $18.34.
Oil has fallen 10 cents to $US53.95 a barrel.