Outlook: Aus shares set to open flat

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set for a flat start to trade after Wall Street marked time and Europe slid overnight. Copper prices rebounded from an earlier four year low, stemming the fall in the Aussie dollar. 
 
US economic news

Concerns over the health of the Chinese economy weighed on Wall Street as investors looked to the safe havens of gold and government bonds. Meanwhile JP Morgan has predicted US fourth-quarter growth is likely to be revised higher after services industry data suggested much stronger consumer spending than previously forecast.
 
The figures

Wall Street closed flat yesterday after recouping early losses in late trade: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 11 points to close at 16,340, the S&P 500 added 0.6 of a  point to close at 1,868 and the NASDAQ gained 16 points to close at 4,323.
 
European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE lost 65 points, Paris lost 43 points and Frankfurt lost 119 points.
 
Asian markets also closed lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 394 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 368 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 3 points.
 
The Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 30 points down to finish at 5,384. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points up. 
 
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 7:25AM was buying $US0.8985 cents, 54.08 Pence Sterling, 92.29 Yen and 64.62 Euro cents.
 
Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is Labour force figures for January.
 
Company news
 
Coalseam gas explorer WestSide Corporation Limited (ASX:WCL) has announced a operating loss of $5.65 million for the first half of Fiscal 2014, consistent with the $5.62 million loss reported for the previous corresponding period. 
 
Revenue from continuing operations for the period was $5.0 million, up from $4.7m for the previous corresponding period, including $4.0 million from Meridian SeamGas operations. The result included an operating loss of $3.2 million attributable to the Meridian SeamGas business which including a $3.4 million depreciation write down.
 
Managing director Mike Hughes said the results were in line with expectations and the company plans are well advanced to commence drilling new production wells in the 2nd quarter of this year to increase production volumes to take advantage of the expected higher gas prices. Shares in WestSide Corporation closed flat yesterday at $0.295. 
As speculation of a possible merger with David Jones continues, Myer Holdings Limited (ASX:MYR) has announced executive general manager, business services and strategy, Greg Travers, has resigned to take up a role in the resources sector. Mr Travers has reportedly provided three months' notice. His role will be covered by internal appointments while a review of further changes and appointments at the retailer is under way.
 
Recently reappointed Myer chief Bernie Brookes paid tribute to Mr Travers' contribution to the company over the past eight years. Shares in Myer closed 0.72 per cent lower yesterday at $2.75.
 
Ex-dividends

9 companies are going ex-dividend today: 
 
Ainsworth Game Tech ASX:AGI
Brierty Limited ASX:BYL
Chalmers Limited ASX:CHR
DWS Limited ASX:DWS
Equity Trustees ASX:EQT
K & S Corporation ASX:KSC
M2 Group Limited ASX:MTU
Patties Foods Limited ASX:PFL
Royal Wolf Holdings ASX:RWH
 
Commodities

Gold is up $23.80 to $US1,370.50 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. Silver is up $0.54 to $21.36 for May. Copper is up $0.01 at $2.96 a pound. Oil is down $2.04 at US$97.99 a barrel for April light crude in New York.