Outlook: Aus shares set to open lower

Market Reports

Following mixed leads, the Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower. US shares ended March on a subdued note, drawing what has been a turbulent first quarter to a close. Meanwhile the Australian Dollar has found itself at a fresh 9-month high, off the back of a falling US Dollar. Investors will now be watching out for key manufacturing data due out of China today alongside Nonfarm payrolls data due out from the US overnight.  

Markets
 
Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent to close at 17,685, the S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent to close at 2,060 and the NASDAQ gained 0.01 per cent to close at 4,870.
 
European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE fell 0.5 per cent, Paris lost 1.3 per cent and Frankfurt lost 0.8 per cent.
 
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.1 per cent.
 
The Australian share market closed higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 73 points up to finish at 5,083. On the futures market the SPI is 20 points down. 

Currencies
 
The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US0.7662 cents, 53.35 Pence Sterling, 86.25 Yen and 67.34 Euro cents.

Economic news
 
Due out today from the Australian Industry Group is the Manufacturing Index for March
 
Company news
 
Automotive Holdings Group Limited (ASX:AHG) has completed the acquisition of the Knox Mitsubishi dealership located at Wantirna South in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The acquisition involves a total consideration of approximately $5.4 million for goodwill and assets. The acquisition takes AHG’s network to 179 franchises at 104 dealership locations in Australia and New Zealand. Shares in Automotive Holdings Group closed 1.24 per cent up yesterday at $4.09.  
 
APA Group (ASX:APA) has entered into a new agreement with Incitec Pivot for multi-asset services on APA’s East Coast Grid. The new agreement is a renewal and augmentation of an existing contact and will see the transportation of gas from sources in the Surat Basin to Phosphate Hill. Shares in APA Group closed 1.26 per cent up yesterday at $8.81. 

Ex-dividends
 
4 companies are going ex-dividend today: BPS Technology, Clime Capital, Pepper Group, Silver Chef

Commodities

Gold has gained $5.60 to $US1,234 an ounce for the April contract on Comex.
Silver has gained $0.24 to $15.45 for May. Copper has lost $0.01 to $2.18 a pound.
Oil has fallen $0.15 to $US38.17 a barrel for April light crude in New York.