Outlook: Aus shares eye flat start

Market Reports

Following weak leads from the US and with stimulus still a way off in Europe the Australian share market looks set to open flat.
 
The European Central Bank decided to keep its key interest rate near zero at 0.05 per cent but reports late in the day suggested a stimulus package was in the works, due in January.
 
Meanwhile Chinese stocks posted big gains overnight, gaining more than 4 per cent.
 
Closer to home and the iron ore price turned positive overnight, the price of the steel making commodity jumped more than 2 per cent.
 
Global figures

Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.07 per cent to close at 17,900, the S&P 500 lost 0.12 per cent to close at 2,072 and the NASDAQ lost 0.1 per cent to close at 4,769.
 
European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE lost 0.6 per cent, Paris lost 1.6 per cent and Frankfurt is down 1.2 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed up: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 1.7 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite streaked ahead 4.3 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 47 points up to finish at 5,369. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points down.
 
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying $US0.8382 cents, 53.51 Pence Sterling, 100.40 Yen and 67.74 Euro cents.
 
Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Industry Group and HIA is the performance of construction index for November.
 
Company news
 
Macquarie Radio Network Limited (ASX:MRN) says Alan Jones will stay on as radio host after he re-signed with the network until mid 2017. The company says Mr Jones’ 2GB Breakfast Show is Sydney’s highest rating breakfast show and has been for many years. Executive Chairman Russell Tate said the board and shareholders were delighted that Jones had decided to stay on and that he sounds better than ever. Shares in Macquarie Radio last traded at $1.22
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has been awarded a $150 million contract to expand the Sundrop Farms glasshouse farming facility in South Australia. The engineering and construction company’s wholly owned subsidiary John Holland will design and construct a climate controlled 20 hectare facility to produce truss tomatoes. CEO Marcelino Fernandez Verdes says John Holland has tailored its multidisciplinary experience to the meet the unique requirements of this sustainable arid-environment agricultural project. Shares in Leighton closed 6.7 per cent up yesterday at $21.18
 
Commodities

Gold is down $1.00 to $US1,208 an ounce for the February contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.16 to $16.58 for March.
Copper is up $0.04 at $2.91 a pound.
Oil is down $0.57 at US$66.81 a barrel for January light crude in New York.