US stocks close lower but post monthly 1% gains: ASX to open flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is poised to open flat, after Wall Street closed lower on Friday when investors swallowed weaker than expected economic growth data.

On the S&P 500, financials and telecommunications stocks lead the decliners, while on the Dow Jones Intel and Goldman Sachs weighed down on the index.

Despite the US equity pull back, stocks posted monthly gains in April of about 1 per cent. The S&P and the Dow clocked their fifth positive month out of six, while the Nasdaq etched its sixth straight monthly gain. The bulk of the steam came from stellar corporate earnings results.

US economic news

US economic growth slowed to 0.7% in the March quarter, which is the weakest growth in three years. Economists expected GDP data to grow 1.2% in the quarter. The modest gain follows the 2.1% increase in Q4 2016.

Meantime, US employment costs, which are a gauge of US wages and benefits, rose 0.8% in the March quarter, which is the fastest pace since 2007.

Local economic news

Today, we will learn how the manufacturing sector is clocking along, with a reading of the Performance of Manufacturing Index. In February, Australia’s manufacturing hit its highest level in almost 15 years.

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank Board will meet, with expectations the cash rate will remain on hold.

Come Wednesday the performance of the services sector for April will be released.

On Thursday the RBA Governor Philip Lowe will make a speech following Tuesday’s board meeting.

We will also get the International Trade data for March, which is expected to show another sizeable surplus.

Finally on Friday, the RBA will release its quarterly Monetary Policy Statement about our local economy. And HIA will announce the new home sales for March.


Wall Street closed lower on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent to close at 20,941, the S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent to close at 2,384 and the NASDAQ lost 0.02 per cent, closing pretty much flat at 6,048.

European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE fell 0.5 per cent, Paris dipped 0.1 per cent and Frankfurt also lost 0.1 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite lifted 0.1 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed higher on Friday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 3 points up to finish at 5,924. On the futures market the SPI is 8 points down.

Company news

Neometals Limited (ASX:NMT) has announced its production, shipments and sales continued to ramp up in the first quarter of 2017. The lithium miner and its JV partners saw about 31,700 tonnes of product shipped from the Mt Marion lithium project in Western Australia, while it processed over 401,400 tonnes in the quarter. At a company level its cash, and restricted access term deposits totaled $53.5 million. Neometals is also now in talks with interested third parties about its US$96 million sale ofsale of its 13.8% stake in the Mt Marion operation, Reed Industrial Minerals. Shares in Neometals Limited (ASX:NMT) last traded 1.61% lower to 30.5 cents.


The Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying 74.90 US cents, 57.91 Pence Sterling, 83.42 Yen and 68.70 Euro cents.


Gold has gained $4.10 to $US1,270 an ounce.
Silver has lost 11 cents $US17.22 an ounce.
Oil has gained 1 cent $US49.19 a barrel.

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