The Australian share market is set to dip in to the red at the open, after US stocks closed lower following a mixed batch of economic reports, which showed slower growth in the US services sector and a rebound in new orders for factory goods.
US economic news
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index for December dipped to 53 from 53.9 in November, missing expectations of a rise to 54.5.
Separately, factory orders for November increased 1.8 per cent on the month, above forecasts for a 1.5 per cent rise. The lift saw orders at their highest level since records began in 1992.
But investors will really be looking ahead to a reading on private-sector jobs growth and the minutes to the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting on Wednesday, as well as the government's monthly employment report on Friday.
Wall Street dipped moderately: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 45 points to close at 16,425, the S&P 500 dropped 5 points to close at 1,827 and the NASDAQ slipped by 18 points to close at 4,114.
European markets were also lacklustre: London’s FTSE lost 3 points, Paris shed 20 points and Frankfurt dropped 7 points.
Japanese stocks fell as trading resumed after the New Year break, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average posting its biggest drop since October as a stronger yen weighed on the nation’s exporters. Tokyo’s Nikkei plunged by 382 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 133 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite dipped by 37 points.
The Australian share market ended yesterday’s session 0.5 per cent down. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 25 points to close at 5,325. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower.
The Australian dollar has bounced back after suffering a brief fall on the back of some disappointing Chinese economic data. At 8:20AM the Aussie was buying $US89.68 cents, 54.68 Pence Sterling, 93.46 Yen and 65.8 Euro cents.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will reveal the balance of trade data for November today.
Alcoa Inc (ASX:AAI)
will announce the result of a formal review of its ageing Point Henry aluminium smelter in Geelong by the end of March. Analysts say the closure of the operation is almost certain, impacting more than 500 workers. Shares in Alcoa last traded at $10.70.
Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS)
and partner Canada Pension Plan Investment Board appear to have won the battle for the $4 billion Commonwealth Property Office Fund (ASX:CPA)
with rival GPT Group (ASX:GPT)
to walk away with a portfolio of properties worth $1.2 billion. Both Dexus and GPT announced they had struck a memorandum of understanding last night after the share market closed. Shares in Dexus Property Group fell 1.96 per cent yesterday to close at $1.
Aberdeen Leaders Limited (ASX:ALR)
will pay 1.75 cents per share fully franked.
Gold is down $0.60 to $US1,238 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. Silver is down $0.04 to $20.17 for March. Copper is flat at $3.36 a pound. Oil is down $0.53 at US$93.43 a barrel for February light crude in New York.