Dow and S&P500 up, Nasdaq down: Aus shares to open slightly lower

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

Australian shares are poised for a weaker open this morning following mixed leads from Wall Street. Investors are also awaiting earnings updates from companies such as BHP due out tomorrow as well as the December quarter wage data due out Wednesday.

Wall Street had six straight days of gains which helped our shares recoup last week. The S&P 500 had its best weekly gains since 2013.

On the commodities front the iron ore futures are pointing to a gain of about 2.6 per cent while the oil price is holding firm.

Taking all that into consideration the Australian futures are 7 points lower.

On Friday the Australian share market finished slightly lower the S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 5 pts lower to 5904 on Friday.

US economic news 

US import prices rose more than expected in January. Import prices rose 1 per cent last month according to the Labor Department, beating analyst expectations of a 0.6 per cent lift. It comes as the cost of petrol and other goods rose in the month, which could boost inflation in the coming months.

US home construction was also higher than expected, increasing to a one-year high in January. Building permits soared to their highest level since 2007 according to the Commerce Department.

Local economic news out this week

Today we can expect the release of the overseas arrivals and departures publication which includes short and longer-term tourist and immigration data. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will release the minutes of its February board meeting on Tuesday, and, on Wednesday the December quarter wage price index is issued by the ABS. Wage growth has lifted off 20 year lows and the market consensus is that wages rose by 0.5 per cent.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1per cent to close at 25,219, the S&P 500 added 0.04 per cent to close at 2732and the NASDAQ dropped 0.2 per cent to close at 7239

European markets closed higher on Friday: London’s FTSE rose0.8 per cent, Paris gained 1.1 per centand Frankfurt closed0.9 per centhigher.

Asian markets, only Tokyo was trading on Friday, up 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite were closed for a public holiday

Company news

Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, UBET has been granted an extension on the retail exclusivity for its wagering license in South Australia. Under the new conditions UBET’s license will expire in 2032. UBET offers retail wagering in South Australia across 350 agencies, licensed venues and racetracks. The new arrangements will have an annual earnings impact of around $2 million. Tabcorp shares closed 2.62 per cent higher on Friday to $4.52

Reporting season

A swag of companies are reporting financial results today including Brambles (ASX:BXB), Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG), GWA Group (ASX:GWA), Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO), Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR), InvoCare (ASX:IVC), nib holdings (ASX:NHF), oOh!media (ASX:OML) and SEEK (ASX:SEK).

Ex-dividend

Two companies are going ex-dividend today, Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) is paying 12.5 cents 50 per cent franked and K2 Asset Management (ASX:KAM) is paying 0.5 cents fully franked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar is buying 79.08 US cents, 56.48 Pence Sterling, 84.16 Yen and 63.81 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $0.90 to $US1356 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.08 to $US16.71 an ounce.
Oil has gained $0.38 to $US61.55a barrel.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has gained 0.9 per cent to $10,917, Tether has gained about 0.3 per cent to $1.01 and Ethereum has dropped 1.6 per cent to $951