Hump day: Aus shares to open lower

Market Reports

by David Chau

The Australian stock market is set to open lower this morning, following a weak lead from Wall Street.  The US share market finished lower, with every sector in the red.

The International Monetary Fund also released its ‘World Economic Outlook’ overnight. The IMF expects US growth this year will slow to 1.6%, compared to 2.1% last year – which is well below the global economic growth rate.  The IMF also says the global economy is expected to grow 3.4% next year, which is 0.1% downgrade from its previous forecast six months ago.

Markets

Wall Street finished lower, with the Dow Jones slipping 0.5 per cent to 18,168. The S&P 500 was also down 0.5 per cent to close at 2,150 and the NASDAQ lost 0.2 per cent to close at 5,290.

European markets finished higher: London’s FTSE was up 1.3 per cent, Paris added 1.1 per cent and Frankfurt gained just over 1.%.

Asian markets closed higher as well: the Nikkei gained 0.8 per cent, the Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite was closed.

The Australian share market finished higher yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 5.5 points to close at 5,484. But this morning, on the futures market, the SPI is down 31 points.

Turning to currencies, the Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $US76.26 cents, 59.91 Pence, 78.45 Yen and 68.08 Euro cents.

Company news

An Australian agricultural chemical company, Nufarm Ltd (ASX:NUF) has sold its 14.69% stake in an Indian crop protection business, called Excel Crop Care. It was sold for $39.5 million, and Nufarm will use those proceeds to repay debt. Shares in Nufarm closed 0.21% lower at $9.48.

Elanor Investors Group (ASX:ENN) is finalizing preparations to list on the ASX a new real instate investment trust called the Elanor Retail Property Fund. The Fund will invest in Australian retail property. The Fund will initially own a portfolio of 5 shopping centres valued at $243.2 million in total. Shares in Elanor closed 4.63% higher at $2.26.

Ex-dividends
Two companies are going ex-dividend today. Cedar Woods (ASX:CWP) will pay 16.5 cents per share, and Gowing Bros (ASX:GOW) will pay 6 cents per share. Both of them are fully franked.

Commodities

Gold has fallen sharply by $41.40 cents to $US1,271 an ounce.
Silver has lost $1.02 to $17.85.
Copper is down 2 cents to $2.17 a pound.
Oil is down $0.16 to $US48.65 a barrel.