Outlook: ASX set to slip into session

Market Reports

The Australian share market is set to slip into the session after Wall Street took a breather from the month’s rally and ended lower on Tuesday. US stocks dipped as investors juggled promising earnings reports with disappointing economic data following the S&P 500 index’s record high at the beginning of the week. 
 
Closer to home earnings reports will remain in focus with full year results expected from Sydney Airport Holdings Limited (ASX:SYD) and Westfield Retail Trust (ASX:WRT) today.  Among those releasing interim reports are AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGK), BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI), Flight Centre Limited (ASX:FLT), Infigen Energy Limited (ASX:IFN), Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC), Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) and Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR).    
 
US economic news

A read on US consumer confidence fell more than expected. The Conference Board reported US consumer confidence fell to 78.1 in February from 79.4 the month before and against expectations for a rise to 80.
 
American house prices rose at a slower pace than expected at the end of 2013. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities gained 13.4 per cent in December from a year earlier, declining from an annual pace of 13.7 per cent in November from a year earlier. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street paused from a record run to end lower on Tuesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 27 points to close at 16,180, the S&P 500 lost 2 points to close at 1,845 and the NASDAQ lost 5 points to close at 4,288.
 
European markets also closed lower on Tuesday: London's FTSE 100 Index lost 35 points, France's CAC 40 lost 5 points and Germany's DAX lost 10 points.
 
Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday: Japan’s Nikkei added 214 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 71 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 42 points.
 
The Australian share market snapped seven straight days of gains yesterday to end in the red: The S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 6.4 points on Tuesday to end at 5,434. On the futures market the SPI is 9 points lower. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar at 8:15AM was buying $US0.9017, 54.08 Pence Sterling, 92.13 Yen and 65.62 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Construction work data for the December quarter
Housing Industry Association: Outlook
 
Company news 
 
Engineering company Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has awarded Data#3 Limited (ASX:DTL) a multi-year and multi-million dollar long term cloud services contract. Under the deal information technology solutions provider Data#3’s will work to transform Worleyparsons IT infrastructure. Data#3 says it will provide an online, scalable and secure platform which will enable multiple concurrent users to log-on and change live detailed engineering specifications. Shares in Worleyparsons dropped 1.9 per cent yesterday to end at $15.49. 
 
Mining giant Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) has awarded a joint venture between Viento Group Limited (ASX:VIE) and an indigenous company a contract worth about $5 million. Viento says the works contract is part of Rio’s Nammuldi mine expansion in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The joint venture will perform road maintenance grading, irrigation pivot clearing and road construction. Shares in Rio Tinto fell 1.34 per cent yesterday to end at $68.62. 
 
Ex-dividends

Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) paying a 18.8973 cent unfranked dividend  
Ariadne Australia (ASX:ARA) paying a 0.5 cent, 40 per cent franked dividend
Calibre Group Limited (ASX:CGH) paying a 3.5 cent fully franked dividend
Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) paying a 4.5 cent fully franked dividend
HFA Holdings Limited (ASX:HFA) paying a 3.3149 cent fully franked dividend
Infomedia Limited (ASX:IFM) paying a 1.89 cent, 26.46 per cent franked dividend
REA Group (ASX:REA) paying a 22 cent fully franked dividend
Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS) paying an 8 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities

Gold has gained $4.70 to $US1,342.70 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. 
Silver has lost $0.08 to $21.96 for March. 
Copper has eased $0.01 to $3.26 pound. 
Oil has fallen $0.99 to $US101.83 a barrel for April light crude in New York.