Outlook: ASX looks up before ABS jobs data

Market Reports

Following yesterday’s steep losses the SPI is pointing to a higher start for the Australian share market. Wall Street bounced overnight on the back of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes. US investors were encouraged by the Fed’s plans to wind back asset purchases and suggestions rates will remain low for some time. 
 
Closer to home Australia’s will get a read on the nation’s labour market with official jobs numbers due this morning. Economists have tipped the jobless rate to rise from 5.8 per cent to between 5.9 to 6 per cent and up to 12,000 jobs created over last month. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street snapped two days of losses on Wednesday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to close at 16,986, the S&P 500 gained 0.5 per cent to close at 1,973 and the Nasdaq gained 0.6 per cent to close at 4,419.
 
European markets closed mixed on Wednesday: London's FTSE 100 lost 0.3 per cent, France's CAC 40 added 0.4 per cent and Germany's DAX added 0.4 per cent.
 
Asian markets moved lower on Wednesday: Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.08 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.6 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.2 per cent.
 
The Australian share market retreated to session lows and ended more than 1 per cent lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 index sank 58 points on Wednesday to close at 5,453. On the futures market the SPI is 10 points higher. 
 
Currencies 

The Australian dollar at 7:30am was buying $US0.941, 54.87 Pence Sterling, 95.64 Yen and 69 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Labour force data for June
 
Company news 

Australand Property Group (ASX:ALZ) has edged closer to being taken over by Singapore-listed Frasers Centrepoint Limited (SGX:TQ5). Australia’s Foreign Investment Board has given the green light for the $2.6 billion takeover of the Australian industrial property investor to proceed. Australand’s directors backed the bid last week but the transaction is still reliant on shareholder approval and an independent expert. Shares in Australand Property Group closed steady at $4.47 on Wednesday ahead of the announcement.  
 
Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) fell yesterday despite its joint venture partner US based aluminum giant  Alcoa (ASX:AAI, NYSE:AA) beating analyst expectations with its second quarter result. Alumina’s sole business it its 40 per cent interest in the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals business, with the remaining interest held by Alcoa. While Alcoa rebounded to a quarterly profit and spruiked a positive outlook Alumia reported declining margins for the alumina segment over the quarter and challenging industry conditions. Shares in Alumina dropped 3.12 per cent to close at $1.39 on Wednesday following the announcement.  
 
Ex-dividends today
 
Desane Group Holdings (ASX:DGH) paying a 2 cent fully franked dividend
Joyce Corporation (ASX:JYC) paying a 1.5 cent unfranked dividend
 
Ex-dividends tomorrow
 
Coventry Group (ASX:CYG) paying a 11 cent fully franked dividend
Euroz Limited (ASX:EZL) paying a 9 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities 

Gold has lifted $7.80 to $US1,324 an ounce for the August contract on Comex. 
Silver has firmed $0.05 to $21.02 for September. 
Copper has eased $0.01 to $3.25 a pound. 
Oil has dipped $1.11 to $US102.29 a barrel for August light crude in New York.