Health care bill defeated: Aus shares to open flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is poised to open flat, with the SPI pointing up just by one point after US markets closed mixed on Friday when the health-care bill was pulled in the final hour of trade.

The Dow Jones traded over 100 points lower in the session on Friday, before closing 60 points down. The S&P 500 also closed in the red, while the health care sector shone following the news that the health-care bill was defeated.

The most steam however came from the tech heavy Nasdaq which jumped 0.2%. All three major indicies however posted weekly losses.

The iron ore and copper price are still under pressure and in the red, proving our miners may struggle for the second week, while the Australian dollar appears to be strengthening.

US economic news

The Commerce Department announced on Friday that durable goods (long-lasting manufactured goods) orders rose 1.7% in February. It was less than forecast, but for 2017 orders are 1.6% higher than prior corresponding period for 2016. The rise has largely been bolstered by greater demand for commercial aircraft and primary metals.

Demand that reflects business investment plans, and excludes aircraft and military good of course, dipped 0.1% in February. Manufacturers in the US are still recovering from a rough ride that kicked off in 2015 when oil prices fell and the dollar strengthened.

Local economic news

On Thursday, we can expect the ABS to report on the Finance and Wealth figures for the December quarter, which includes estimates of household wealth.

ABS will also release the Job vacancies for February, which his of course a leading indicator for job market.

On the same day, the Housing Industry Association will announce its New Home Sales numbers for February.

Finally on Friday, the RBA will report private sector credit for February, which is likely to show a 0.4% increase.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3 per cent to close at 20,597, the S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent to close at 2,344 and the NASDAQ gained 0.2 per cent to close at 5,829.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE lost 0.05 per cent, Paris lost 0.2 per cent and Frankfurt gained 0.2 per cent.

Asian markets closed up: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.6 per cent.

Back home, At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 46 points up to finish at 5,754. Over the week the index lost 46 points. On the futures market the SPI is 1 points up.

Company news

Tox Free Solutions Limited (ASX:TOX) is requesting a trading halt pending an announcement about being awarded a Chevron Australia tender. The environmental waste service company is requesting an immediate halt and for the halt to remain until the start of trade on Tuesday 28th March 2017, or until it has made an announcement about the Chevron contract. Shares in Tox Free Solutions Limited (ASX:TOX) last traded flat on Friday at $2.38.

Ex-dividends

Four companies are going ex-dividend today: Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) is paying 15.5 cents fully franked, IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF) is paying 3 cents fully franked, Japara Healthcare Limited (ASX:JHC) is paying 5.5 cents fully franked and Mainstreambpo Limited (ASX:MAI) is paying 0.5 cents fully franked.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:20AM was buying 76.30 US cents, 61.17 Pence Sterling, 84.65 Yen and 70.40 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has dropped by $3.70 $US1,246 an ounce.
Silver has gained 18 cents to $17.77.
Oil has gained 44 cents to $US48.14 a barrel.