Outlook: ASX poised to plunge into December

Market Reports

The Australian share market is poised to plunge into the new month after oil prices continued to decline and ahead of Chinese data. Energy stocks look to come under more pressure following OPEC’s decision last week not to cut back output levels. Gold stocks and the Aussie dollar will also be in focus after Swiss voters rejected a plan that would have seen its central bank lift gold reserves. 
 
The week ahead will have a busy schedule of economic developments, including the RBA’s interest rate decision tomorrow and official growth figures on Wednesday. Europe’s central bank will be in the spotlight when it meets on Thursday and America will release its monthly jobs data on Friday. 
 
Global markets
 
Wall Street rose 0.7 per cent over last week but posted a lacklustre finish on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended steady at 17,828, the S&P 500 dipped 0.3 per cent to close at 2,068 and the Nasdaq firmed 0.1 per cent to close at 4,792.
 
European markets increased 1.6 per cent over last week but ended mixed on Friday: London's FTSE 100 sipped 0.01 per cent, France's CAC 40 added 0.2 per cent and Germany's DAX put on 0.1 per cent.
 
Asian markets rose over last week but closed mixed on Friday: Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng eased 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite spiked almost 2 per cent.
 
The Australian share market sank 1.6 per cent on Friday, rose 0.2 per cent over the week but booked a 2.6 per cent drop over the month of November: The S&P/ASX 200 index slumped 88 points on Friday but still managed to end 9 points higher over the week to finish at 5,313. On the futures market the SPI is 44 points lower. 
 
Currencies
 
After falling $0.015 last week against the greenback the Australian dollar at 8:10am was buying $US0.8468, 54.11 Pence Sterling, 100.49 Yen and 67.93 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Business indicators for the September quarter
 
Australian Industry Group: Performance of manufacturing (PMI) index for November
 
TD Securities-Melbourne Institute: Inflation gauge for November
 
RP Data Core Logic: Home Value Index for November
 
Reserve Bank of Australia: Index of commodity prices for November
 
Company news 
 
Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) is set to unveil its first half financial results today after booking an 18 per cent annual profit drop last year. Analysts tip the grocery wholesaler’s interim profit may have dropped more than 10 per cent to $98 million. At the time of releasing its annual result Metcash vowed to significantly reinvest into its grocery division. The company is executing a turnaround strategy to reshape its model for Metcash Food and Grocery and for stronger growth in its other business pillars. Shares in Metcash slipped 0.38 per cent to close at $2.61 on Friday ahead of today’s results announcement. 
 
Shares in OzForex Group Limited (ASX:OFX) soared almost 20 per cent last week to claim the title of the benchmark index’s best performer. The online foreign exchange group forecast growth ahead after boosting its first half net profit by 26 per cent on the back of strong active client and transaction growth. Shares in gold miner Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) climbed about 13 per cent over the week and analytical testing services provider ALS Limited (ASX:ALQ) gained about 12 per cent. Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) and Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) also put in a strong performance over the week. Shares in OzForex Group rose 0.38 per cent on Friday to end the week at $2.66. 
 
Ex-dividends
 
Orica Limited (ASX:ORI) paying a 56 cent dividend, 35.71 per cent franked
Technology One Limited (ASX:TNE) paying a 6.21 cent dividend, fully franked
 
Commodities 

After declining about $US10 over last week the price of gold has dropped $21.40 to $US1,175 an ounce for the December contract on Comex. 
Silver has fallen $1.06 to $15.49 for December. 
Copper has eased $0.11 to $2.85 a pound. 
Oil has fallen $7.54 to $US66.15 a barrel for January light crude in New York.