The Australian market looks to start the week and quarter lower, after Wall Street posted its worst quarterly decline since the Global Financial Crisis. Weak Chinese economic data and lingering debt concerns in Europe pushed global markets lower on Friday. At home trade is likely to be on light volume with New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT enjoying the Labour Day public holiday.
Q3 results, over the three months to September 30, 2011
The S&P/ASX 200 lost 12.99 per cent, the Dow Jones fell 12 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 14 per cent and the Nasdaq fell 13 per cent.
US economic news
The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index was revised up to 59.4 in September, from an earlier read of 57.8.
The Chicago Performance of Manufacturing Index rose to 60.4 in September, from 56.5 the month before.
Chinese economic news
On Friday, data from China showed the nation’s manufacturing activity slowed in September, contracting for the third straight month. The HSBC purchasing managers' index came in at 49.9 in September, in line with the month before and up from 49.3 in July. A read below 50 indicates contraction, while a read more than 50 indicates expansion.
Wall Street finished lower on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 241 points to close at 10,913, the S&P500 fell 29 points to close at 1,131 and the NASDAQ declined 65 points to close at 2,415.
At the end of last week, European stocks also fell: London’s FTSE was down 68 points, Paris was down 46 and Frankfurt was down 138.
To Asian markets, and stocks were also lower: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 419, Tokyo Nikkei was down almost 1 point and China’s Shanghai Composite was down 6 points.
On Friday the Australian share market pared gains to close where it started: The S&P/ASX 200 Index added just 0.3 points to finish the week at 4,009. On the futures market the SPI is currently 81 points down.
The Australian Dollar at 7:55AM was buying 96.61 US cents, 62.14 Pence Sterling, 74.48 Yen and 72.42 Euro cents.
Due out today from the Australian Industry Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the performance of manufacturing index for September, TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute's inflation gauge for September and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s index of commodity prices for September.
Shares in CSG Limited (ASX:CSV) closed at $1.07 on Friday, having gained 2.88 per cent over the day and 38 per cent over the week. The information technology provider was the best performing stock of the week after it said it was considering a $339 million takeover bid from an unnamed bidder. There is speculation that the offer of $1.20 per CSG share has been made from a Japanese strategic investor. CSG are considering the non-binding off-market takeover bid and have advised shareholders to take no action at this stage. In the 2011 financial year CSG boosted its net profit by 26 per cent to $40.5 million.
At the end of last week Ivanhoe Australia Limited (ASX:IVA) closed at $0.965, having shed 8.53 per cent over the day and 24.6 per cent over the week. Responding to a price query from the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday, the base metals and minerals explorer could not offer an explanation for the fall in its share price that placed Ivanhoe as the worst performer of the week. There is speculation that drop was due to a sharp drop in copper prices over the week. In the first half of the 2011 financial year Ivanhoe Australia reported a net loss of $16.6 million.
No companies are going ex-dividend today. Among those coming up this week are David Jones, Premier Investments, Webster, GBST Holdings, OrotonGroup, Marbletrend Group and National Can Industries.