Outlook: Aus shares set to open flat

Market Reports

The Australian share market is expected to open flat to marginally higher in early trade as the market digests weak Chinese trade data and a mixed session on Wall Street following the release of minutes from the US Federal Reserve's latest policy-setting meeting.
 
The minutes showed growing support among policymakers for beginning to pull back on its massive stimulus spending program later this year.
 
Figures

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 9 points to close at 15,292, the S&P 500 was flat at 1,653 and the NASDAQ gained 17 points to close at 3,521.
 
European markets were also mixed: London’s FTSE fell 8 points, Paris lost 3 points and Frankfurt added 9 points.
 
Asian markets followed suit: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 222 points shrugging off weak economic figures from China, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 56 and China’s Shanghai Composite added 43 points.
 
The Australian share market came off yesterday’s peaks in afternoon trade following unexpectedly weak June trade data out of China. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points up to finish at 4,901.
 
On the futures market the SPI is 5 points higher. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US91.15 cents, 61.08 Pence Sterling, 91.31 Yen and 70.76 Euro cents.
 
Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will today release its labour force data for June. The unemployment rate is widely tipped to rise as businesses deal with slow economic growth. A survey revealed most economists expect the unemployment rate to have risen to 5.6 per cent in June, up from 5.5 per cent in May.
 
Company news
 
CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) will hold its annual general meeting. We’ll bring you the news from that as it unfolds.
 
Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) has announced plans to buy ING Investment Management Korea from ING Group for an undisclosed figure. The deal would reportedly increase Macquarie Investment Management's assets to $263 billion and make Macquarie Group the largest foreign asset manager in Korea. Shares in Macquarie Group lifted 3.17 per cent to $44.89.
 
Poseidon Nickel Limited (ASX:POS) has laid off more than 40 contractors after chairman Andrew Forrest and chief executive David Singleton failed to secure about $200 million in debt financing, according to media reports. Poseidon has suspended drilling at the Windarra project, with workers told the shutdown was related to technical problems involving dewatering at the site.  Mr Singleton has denied the shutdown was related to cash flow issues. Shares in Poseidon closed flat yesterday at 13 cents.
 
Commodities

Gold is up $1.50 to $US1,247 an ounce for the August contract on Comex. Silver is up $0.27 to $19.16 for September. Copper is up $0.03 at $3.09 a pound. Oil is $2.99 higher at US$106.52 a barrel for August light crude in New York.