Outlook: Aus shares set to open lower

Market Reports

Following soft leads from Wall Street, the Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower today. This comes despite closing higher in yesterday’s session for only the second time in 2016. Global stocks rebounded, but a renewed slip in oil prices forced shares on Wall Street to pare back early gains. 

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to close at 16,016, the S&P 500 added 0.05 per cent to close at 1,881 and the NASDAQ lost 0.3 per cent to close at 4,477.
European markets closed up: London’s FTSE gained 1.7 per cent, Paris gained 2 per cent and Frankfurt gained 1.5 per cent.
Asian markets closed up: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.55 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 3.2 per cent.
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 44 points up to finish at 4,903. On the futures market the SPI is 15 points down. 

The Australian Dollar at 8:20AM was buying $US0.6919 cents, 48.82 Pence Sterling, 81.35 Yen and 63.4 Euro cents.

Economic news
Due out today from the Commonwealth Bank is the lender’s business sales indicator. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment is also due for release. 
Company news
Sedgman Limited (ASX:SDM) chairman Rob McDonald has told shareholders the company anticipates an almost 70 percent rise in first half net profit to between $7.5 and $8 million. The announcement comes as the mining services company urges shareholders to take no action regarding CIMIC’s takeover bid. Shares in Sedgman Name closed flat at $1.07.
Highfield Resources Limited (ASX:HFR) has announced that an independent report has determined the company’s flagship Muga potash mine is likely to position the company as the highest margin potash producer globally, based on average potash prices received in the 2015 calendar year. The report was prepared by Argus FMB on behalf of the European project finance banking syndicate. Shares in Highfield Resources closed 5 per cent up yesterday at $1.68.

2 companies are going ex-dividend today: Merchant House will pay a dividend of 0.5 cent unfranked. Meanwhile Mirrabooka Investments will pay a dividend of 3.5 cents fully franked. 

Finally to Commodities Gold has lost $4.20 to $US1,087 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. Silver has gained $0.13 to $14.03 for March. Copper has gained $0.03 to $1.97 a pound. Oil has lost $0.89 to $US29.50 a barrel for February light crude in New York.