The Australian share market is set to open lower today after US markets came under pressure due to concerns over the tariff tensions in the US. On Friday the Dow plunged more than 550 points. Caterpillar and Boeing, two companies that would be negatively affected by a trade war both fell more than 3 per cent. The market also digested some disappointing employment data which I will touch on in a moment. For the week the major averages closed with the S&P down 1.4 per cent and the Nasdaq down 2.1 per cent.
On the commodities front – oil is weaker. Gold is also down.
US economic news
The Labor Department released its official hiring and unemployment figures for March on Friday, providing the latest snapshot of the American economy. 103,000 jobs were added last month. Wall Street economists had expected an increase of about 185,000, according to Bloomberg.The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the sixth straight month.All in all March job growth wasn’t as strong as February, but still extended a remarkable run in the job market.
Local economic news
On Monday the AiGroup releases the Performance of Construction index, an index that has risen for 13 months.
On Tuesday the latest business survey from National Australia Bank is issued. In February the measure of business conditions hit a record (21-year) high. Good results are also expected for March.
The ABS releases the December quarter building activity on Wednesday home starts rose very slightly by 0.7 per cent for the September quarter. Also on Wednesday the consumer confidence figures are released confidence edged just 0.3 per cent higher for March, but the index of confidence remains above 100 indicating more optimists than pessimists.
Wall Street closed lower on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.3 per cent to close at 23,933, the S&P 500 lost 2.2 per cent to close at 2,604 and the NASDAQ lost 2.3 per cent to close at 6915.
European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE lost 0.2 per cent, Paris dropped 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt fell 0.5 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite was closed.
Taking all of this into equation, the ASX futures are pointing to a 33 points fall. On Friday the Australian share market closed flat with the S&P/ASX 200 Index closing at 5789.
A new class action has been launched against Murray Goulburn (ASX:MGC) global litigation funder IMF Bentham announced plans for a claim that will allege the MG entities were responsible for misleading statements in a product disclosure statement issued in May 2015. Proceedings will be conducted by law firm Slater and Gordon and is open to all holders of units in Murray Goulburn Trust entity. The action comes despite the resounding vote on Thursday to sell the company to dairy giant Saputo for $1.2 billion.
Shares in MG Unit Trust (ASX:MGC) closed flat on Friday at $0.95.
Adairs is paying 5 and a half cents fullt franked, Cadence Capital is paying 4 cents fully franked and CTI logistics is paying 2 cents also fully franked.
One Australian Dollar at 7:45AM was buying US76.79 cents, 54.51 Pence Sterling, 82.10 Yen and 62.53 Euro cents.
Gold has gained $5.30 to $US1336 an ounce.
Silver has gained 1c to $US16.36 an ounce.
Oil has lost $1.48 to $US62.06 a barrel
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has fallen 0.18 per cent to US$6,989, Ethereum gained about 2 per cent to US$399 and TRON has gained 0.75 per cent to US$0.037.