Outlook: Aus shares look to open lower

Market Reports

Weak offshore leads look to push the Australian share market lower this morning. US stocks dragged following comments from the nation’s central bank suggesting the Federal Reserve appears to be leaning away from another round of stimulus. European markets also slipped amid rising debt concerns in Spain.

US economic news

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest March policymaking meeting have made note of “encouraging” US jobs data, offering less hope of a third round of quantitative easing, also known as QE3.

Figures

Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 65 points to close at 13,200, the S&P500 lost 6 points to close at 1,413 and the Nasdaq lost 6 points to close at 3,114.

European markets also finished down yesterday: London’s FTSE lost 37 points, Paris lost 56 points and Frankfurt lost 74 points.

Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 269 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 59 and China’s Shanghai Composite added 11 points.

The Australian share market dipped after the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep rates on hold yesterday, but recovered some around to end 0.2 per cent higher: The S&P/ASX 200 Index added 8 points to finish at 4,337. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points lower.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:15AM was buying $US1.0334 cents, 64.94 Pence Sterling, 85.61 Yen and 78.09 Euro cents.

Economic news due out today

Australian Bureau of Statistics: International trade in goods and services data

Australian Industry Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA): Performance of services index

Company news

Shares in Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE) entered into a trading halt yesterday morning, having last traded at $2.49. After the market closed the operations, maintenance and construction services business cut its full year guidance. Transfield now expects to report a full year net profit of $105 million, down from its February forecast of between $130 to $135 million. The company says the latest guidance allows for a $9 million hit from the impact of extreme weather and a $16 million hit from provisions for a legacy construction contract. In the first half of the 2012 financial year Transfield Services posted a net profit of $32.8 million.

Shares in Medical Australia Limited (ASX:MLA) surged 26.67 per cent on Tuesday, closing at $0.019, that was after the medical device manufacturer announced it has been the first in Europe to cryogenically freeze stem cells for the animal healthcare market. The company has established a laboratory in the UK and invested $500,000 to establish its animal stem cell technology offering in the country. CEO and Managing Director Mark Donnison says Medical Australia is pioneering a unique technology that has immediate and significant commercial upside. In the first half of the 2012 financial year, Medical Australia reported a net loss of $367,000.
 
Ex-dividends today

Capitol Health Limited (ASX:CAJ)
CIC Australia Limited (ASX:CNB)
David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS)
GBST Holdings Limited (ASX:GBT)

Ex-dividends tomorrow

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN)
Legend Corporation Limited (ASX:LGD)
Marbletrend Group Limited (ASX:MBD)

Commodities

Gold is down $7.70 to $US1,672 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.167 to $33.26 for May.
Copper is down $0.002 at $3.92 a pound.
Oil is down $1.22 at $104.01 a barrel for May light crude in New York.