Outlook: Aus shares set for lackluster start

Market Reports

Following weak leads, the Australian share market looks set to open slightly lower.

Figures
 
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 5 points to close at 16,264, the S&P 500 lost 4 points to close at 1,849 and the NASDAQ lost 22 points to close at 4,151.
 
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE lost 17 points, Paris lost 6 points and Frankfurt up 3 points.
 
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 146 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 53 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 17 points.
 
The Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 27 points down to finish at 5,350. On the futures market the SPI is 4 points down. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying $US0.9260 cents, 55.77 Pence Sterling, 94.61 Yen and 67.4 Euro cents.
 
Company news

St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) has had its Standard and Poor’s credit rating lowered from B to B-. The gold producer says there is no change to its existing debt arrangement as a consequence of the change. Shares in St Barbara fell 6.56 per cent on Thursday to close at $0.285. 
 
Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX:ERA) has blamed damaged rubber lining on a tank for causing a significant leak at its Ranger mine last year.  The uranium producer says the financial and production impact is yet to be determined and the restart of processing operations remains subject to board and government approvals. Shares in Energy Resources of Australia rose 0.37 per cent to close at $1.35. 
 
Ex-dividends

ARB Corporation (ASX:ARP) paying a 13 cent fully franked dividend
Cedar Woods Property (ASX:CWP) paying a 12 cent fully franked dividend
Metlifecare Limited (ASX:MEQ) paying a 0.99 unfranked dividend
 
Commodities 

Gold is down $8.70 to $US1,294.70 an ounce for the April contract on Comex.
Silver is down $0.07 to $19.71 for May.
Copper is up $0.03 at $2.99 a pound.
Oil is up $1.02 at US$101.28 a barrel for May light crude in New York.