Wall Street rally falters: ASX to open lower

Market Reports

by David Chau

The Australian share market will open lower, following weak leads from overseas.

Wall Street finished lower this morning, with the Dow Jones sustaining a trip-digit 111 point loss (its second time since the US election in early November). It’s now looking less likely the Dow will crack the 20,000 points mark by the end of the year – in two days’ time. In addition, every sector in the S&P 500 finished in the red. The biggest falls were seen in technology, utilities and financials shares.

Oil prices have risen 25% since mid-November on optimism that OPEC and non OPEC producers will follow through and implement cuts to their oil output when the new year begins on Sunday.

US economic news

Pending home sales fell 2.5% in November, compared to the previous month October. This is its lowest level in almost a year, given the brisk upswing in mortgage rates and not enough inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Markets

Wall Street finished lower this morning: The Dow Jones lost 0.6% to close at 19,834, the S&P 500 slipped 0.8% to finish at 2,250, while the NASDAQ was down 0.9% to close at 5,439.

European markets finished mixed: London’s FTSE gained over 0.5%, while both Paris and Frankfurt were flat.

Asian markets finished mixed as well: the Nikkei was flat, the Hang Seng gained 0.8%, and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4%.

The Australian share market finished 57 points higher yesterday at 5,685 points. On the futures market, the SPI is down 19 points.

Currencies

At 8.40am, the Australian Dollar is buying $US0.7182, 58.77 Pence, 84.16 Yen and 68.98 Euro cents.

Company news

Exxon Mobil announced a new natural gas discovery as part of its Muruk 1 exploration project in Papua New Guinea. Exxon Mobil owns a 42.5% stake in the joint venture, with the remainder being owned by Oil Search Ltd (ASX:OSH), who is also the operator, and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO). The gas is sourced from seven fields, including the Hides, Angore and Juha gas fields. Shares in Oil Search closed 1.44% higher yesterday at $7.06.

Cedar Woods Properties Ltd (ASX:CWP) has been hired to build a new head office for Target Australia at Williams Landing in west Melbourne. Design and planning details are currently being finalised, and the company expects building completion to occur by the end of 2018. Shares in Cedar Woods last traded 1.01% higher yesterday at $5.01.

Commodities

Gold is up $4.60 to $US1,143 an ounce.
Silver has gained $0.05 to $16.04.
Copper is down 1 cent to $2.50.
Oil is down 22 cents to US$53.68 per barrel.

Ex-dividends




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