US upward momentum falters: Aus shares to open in positive territory

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

Wall Street’s upward momentum faltered and closed lower by the end of trade. The S&P 500 was rising throughout the session, but dropped by 0.5 per cent by the closing bell. The Dow rose as much as 381 points and fell as much as 127 points, finishing 19 points lower. Some of the major tech stocks pulled back, with Apple falling 2.1 per cent, and Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet all dropping at least 1.8 per cent, which had a negative impact on the Nasdaq.

The volatility in the markets is mainly due to concerns over interest rate hikes seen in the US. There was a strong rise in the 10-year Treasury yield, which did not help to lift the market.

While the US dollar has risen, oil has dropped significantly as production is expected to increase, according to the US energy agency. In other commodities, gold is tracking lower, copper and silver have dropped, and iron ore is steady.

US economic news

The Chicago Fed President Charles Evans delivered a speech, saying that no rate hikes are needed in the first half of 2018.

Mortgage applications increased 0.7 per cent as of last week, a lift from the 2.6 per cent drop previously.


Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1 per cent to close at 24,893, the S&P 500 lost 0.5 per cent to close at 2,682 and the NASDAQ lost 0.9 per cent to close at 7,052.

European markets closed up: London’s FTSE gained 1.9 per cent, Paris increased 1.8 per cent and Frankfurt gained 1.6 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.9 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 1.8 per cent.

And back home, the Australian share market closed higher/lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 43 points up to finish at 5,877.

On the futures market the SPI is 22 points up.

Company news

National Australia Bank (NAB) (ASX:NAB) has recorded unaudited statutory net profit of $1.65 billion. Cash earnings increased 3 per cent for the quarter compared to the same time the previous financial year, with unaudited cash earnings at $1.65 billion. NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn says the bank is on track to deliver its targets, including an estimated $1.5 billion increase in investment by the end of FY20. The bank aims to cut costs by more than $1 billion by FY20. Shares in National Australia Bank (NAB) (ASX:NAB) last traded 0.28 per cent lower at $28.24.

Reporting season

We can watch out for AGL Energy (ASX:AGL), AMP (ASX:AMP), Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) and Tabcorp (ASX:TAH), which are set to report financial results today.


Two companies are going ex-dividend today: 

Australian Foundation Investment Company (ASX:AFI) is paying 10 cents fully franked, and Benjamin Hornigold (ASX:BHD) is paying 12 cents unfranked.


One Australian Dollar at 8:50AM was buying 78.22 US cents, 56.36 Pence Sterling, 85.51 Yen and 63.77 Euro cents.


Gold has lost $10.40 to $US1,319 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.27 to $US16.30 an ounce.
Oil has lost $1.74 to $US61.65 a barrel.


The three most traded cryptocurrencies are tracking higher.

Bitcoin has gained about 5.6 per cent to $8,107.
Ethereum gained about 5.1 per cent to $817.
Tether gained about 0.4 per cent to $1.01.

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