The Australian share market is eyeing a flat start the open, after the ASX200 finished 0.6 per cent higher yesterday. The hesitant start is expected because Wall Street ended its first session for the week on a mixed note, with the Dow and S&P500 falling while the tech heavy Nadsaq gained.
The likes of Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies fell at least 2 per cent.
US economic news
The US government posted a $215 billion deficit in February, as revenues going into the government fell and outgoings increased. It was slightly less than the $216 billion deficit expected. And it also compares to a smaller budget deficit ($192 billion deficit) for the same time last year.
ASX futures pointing to a 3 point gain. Yesterday the S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 33 points higher at 5,996.
Local economic news
The ABS will release housing finance data. In December the number of loans by owner-occupiers home owners fell by 2.3 per cent. The fresh data is out at 11.30am.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6 per cent to close at 25,179, the S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent to close at 2,783 and the NASDAQ gained 0.4 per cent to close at 7,588.
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE lost 0.1 per cent, Paris closed flat and Frankfurt gained 0.6 per cent.
Asian markets closed higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.9 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite 0.6 per cent.
Gentrack Group (ASX:GTK) the software company for airports and utility companies is set to enter New Zealand’s top 50 index, the S&P/NZX50. The company says it’s a huge milestone especially as the company listed in June 2014. Its shares closed 4 per cent higher yesterday at $6.20.
And New Zealand electricity generator and retailer, Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) announced its sales fell 13 per cent (12.7 per cent) in February, when compared to the same time last year amid national electricity demand falling. Meridian says demand fell 2.4 per cent, compared to the same time last year, with the reduction being seen in the South Island. However in good news, It reported a rise in national hydro storage. Its shares closed 0.4 per cent higher yesterday at $2.66.
Quite a lot of companies are going ex-dividend today including Apiam Animal Health (ASX:AHX), Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) and EQT (ASX:EQT) which is paying 40 cents fully franked and Sims Metals Management (ASX:SGM) which is paying 23 cents fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 8.30am was buying 78.73 US cents, 56.63 Pence Sterling, 83.79 Yen and 63.84 Euro cents.
Gold has gained $2.30 to $US1,324 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.11 to $US16.61 an ounce.
Oil has lost $0.58 to $US61.34 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower: Bitcoin has lost 6 per cent to US$9,072, Tether is trading at US$0.99, and Ethereum has fallen about 5 per cent to US$692.