US and European markets have been hit hard by fears about a run on Euro-zone banks. Asian share markets yesterday suffered their second largest sell-off since June, brought on by the Cypriot bank bailout plan.
Despite that, a late session recovery on Wall Street, has the Australian market is poised for a positive start.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 62 points to close at 14,452, the S&P500 down 9 points to close at 1552 and the Nasdaq closed 11 points weaker at 3238.
European markets were also weaker: London’s FTSE lost 32 points, Paris lost 19 points and Frankfurt fell 32 points.
Asian markets tumbled: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 450 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 340 and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 38 points.
Locally, the consumer staples and financial stocks were hardest hit in yesterdays heavy selling. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 105 points weaker at 5,015. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points firmer.
The Australian Dollar at 7.15 AM was buying $US1.04 cents, 68.88 Pence Sterling, 99.17 Yen and 80.30 Euro cents.
Economic news due out today
The National Australia Bank will today release it’s Business survey for the month of February.
West Australian Uranium explorer Cauldron energy, (ASX:CXU)
has raised eyebrows and it’s share price, after launching a hostile raid on its direct neighbour - Energia Minerals. Cauldron currently controls 16,000 square kilometers of uranium tenements across three states. The takeover would build on that strength and consolidate the assets of both junior explorers. Investors embraced the move, sending Cauldron energy sharesup 3.7 per cent to close at 28 cents. Energia Minerals (ASX:EMX)
soared 30.77 per cent to close at 3c.
chief executive Cameron Clyne continues to defend the banks technology push, amid criticism of NAB’s new five year plan. Mr Clyne is adamant his bank is ahead of the curve in the rapidly developing technology race. Last week NAB unveiled a 5 year plan to cut costs by 800 million a year – with IT one of the divisions targeted for cut backs. NAB shares were among the hardest hit yesterday, dropping 2.59 per cent to finish at $30.49.
Gold is up $12.00 to $US1,604 an ounce for the April contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.2 to $28.87 for May.
Copper is down $0.09 at $3.43 a pound.
Oil is up $0.29 to US$93.74 a barrel for April light crude in New York.