US & European political worries: ASX to open lower

Market Reports

by David Chau

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

In the US, Wall Street fell over concerns about the White House’s policy agenda. In particular, the likelihood that Donald Trump’s administration will encounter delays in getting his highly anticipated fiscal stimulus approved.

In Europe, equities fell due to rising political uncertainty in France – as investors considered the possibility that Marine Le Pen (the far right candidate in the upcoming French elections) might win and bring about Frexit – the withdrawal of France from the European Union.

Australian economic news

The Australian Industry Group will release its performance of construction index figures for January.

The Reserve Bank will announce its interest rate decision at 2.30pm.

Markets

Wall Street finished lower this morning: The Dow Jones lost 0.1 per cent to 20,052, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2 per cent to 2,293 and the NASDAQ fell 0.1 per cent to 5,664.

European markets finished lower as well: London’s FTSE was down 0.2 per cent, Paris fell 1 per cent and Frankfurt retreated 1.2 per cent.
Asian markets were higher: Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.54 per cent.

The Australian share market finished lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 6 points to finish at 5,616. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower.

Company news

Huon Aquaculture (ASX:HUO) has commenced legal action against environmental industry regulators in the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the Federal Court of Australia. Huon says it is seeking stronger regulation and enforcement of marine farming of Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania. Last month, the Environment Protection Authority made a determination that the harbour could safely stock 14,000 tonnes of salmon. Huon disagrees, and is seeking court orders that the EPA declaration is invalid. Yesterday, shares in Huon closed 0.22% higher at $4.50.

Ex-dividends

Tabcorp Holdings Ltd (ASX:TAH) will pay a fully franked dividend of 12.5 cents.
Australian Foundation Investment (ASX:AFI) will pay 10 cents, fully franked.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying $US0.7662, 61.46 Pence Sterling, 85.57 Yen and 71.27 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $16.20 to $US1,237 an ounce.
Silver has gained 27 cents to $17.75 an ounce.
Oil has fallen $0.70 to $US53.13 a barrel.