Irma impacts insurers: Aus shares to open flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

Following mixed leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to start the week flat on Monday’s open. Insurance stocks slipped last week, while home improvement and materials companies jumped, as investors braced for Hurricane Irma which made landfall over the weekend in Florida. With Irma coming hot on the heels of tropical storm Harvey in Texas just a few weeks ago, some analysts are suggesting the natural disasters could cause the Fed to rethink potential interest rate hikes in the coming months.

US economic news

The Commerce Department has reported an increase in July’s wholesale inventories of 0.6 per cent, 0.2 per cent above forecasted results. And consumer credit jumped more than expected in July, up by $18.5B. The figure has been attributed to a surge in non-revolving credit such as student loans and car loans.

Local economic news

Today the ABS will release lending finance numbers for July. Tuesday will see data on overseas arrivals and departures announced and the NAB business survey is also one to watch for. On Wednesday Westpac-MI will release consumer confidence for September and finally on Thursday we can expect the ABS to release August employment and unemployment figures.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed flat at 21,798, the S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent to close at 2,461 and the NASDAQ fell 0.6 per cent to close at 6,360.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE dropped 0.3 per cent, Paris ended the day flat and Frankfurt gained 0.1 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 0.5 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite closed flat

The Australian share market closed lower on Friday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 17 points down to finish at 5,673. The market closed 52 points down on the week. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points down.

Company news

Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) has announced it has been awarded the building project for the $135M Casey Hospital Expansion Project in southeast Melbourne. The project is funded by the Victorian Government and will bring an additional 160 beds to the region. The project will also deliver the hospital’s first intensive care unit, 6 new operating theatres and education and training spaces for Monash University. Shares in Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) are last traded 0.78 per cent lower at $0.64.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:35AM was buying $US80.58 cents, 61.11 Pence Sterling, 87.19 Yen and 67.02 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $0.90 to $US1351 an ounce.
Silver has added $0.01 to $US18.12 an ounce.
Oil has lost $1.61 to $US47.48 a barrel. 
 
Ex-Dividends


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