The ASX has a negative lead from US markets where technology and consumer companies saw a late afternoon slide on Thursday.
Investors are also digesting news the European Central Bank has decided to leave interest rates on hold for now and also hold back on extending its stimulus program of asset purchases beyond March next year.
Comments from ECB President Mario Draghi indicated he was fairly confident about the economy and the need for stimulus had decreased.US economic news
Jobless claims remain at their lowest levels since the early seventies falling by 4,000 to just 259,000.
And the Fed Reserve says that credit card borrowing rose by $17.7 billion in July adding to expectations that economic growth is accelerating.Markets
Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3 per cent to close at 18,480, the S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent to close at 2,181 and the NASDAQ lost 0.5 per cent to close at 5,259.
European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE added 0.2 per cent, Paris lost 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt shed 0.7 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei slipped 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.8 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.1 per cent.
The Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 39 points down to finish at 5,386. On the futures market the SPI is 13 points down.Currencies
The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying 76.43 US cents, 57.49 Pence Sterling, 78.31 Yen and 67.86 Euro cents.Economic news
Due out today are the latest home loans figures for July including investment lending.Company news
Cabcharge Australia Limited (ASX:CAB)
says the Northern Territory Government is planning to impose a 5 per cent cap on all electronic payment surcharges. This will reduce Cabcharges taxi service fee income by around $0.7 million.
Shares in Cabcharges last traded 1.53 per cent higher at $3.31.
Austal Limited (ASX:ASB)
has delivered a second High Speed Support Vessel to the Royal Navy of Oman. The shipmaker also said it is on track for an early 2017 delivery of two Cape Class Control Boats for the Royal Australian Navy.
Shares in Austal last traded 3.02 per cent higher at $1.53.Ex-dividends
A number of companies are trading ex-dividend today including BlueScope Steel, Hunter Hall and Sandfire Resources which will pay 9 cents fully franked.Commodities
Gold has slipped $7.00 to US$1,342 an ounce for the December contract on Comex. Silver has slipped 15 cents to $19.70 for December. Copper is steady at $2.10. Oil is up $1.82 to US$47.32 a barrel for October light crude in New York.