Despite a solid session on Wall Street on Friday Australian markets look set to open lower. US shares closed modestly higher with the S&P 500 index above 2800 points for the first time since February. Shares from tech giants, Amazon and Facebook hit record highs, boosting the index. The second quarter earnings season kicked off with some lacklustre reports from Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
Global oil prices lifted on Friday but posted a second straight weekly loss. Gold and silver prices slid to seven-month lows. The Aussie dollar was stronger against the greenback rising to around US$74.10c in late US trade.
In political news, US President Donald Trump will meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Finland tomorrow. Mr Trump has told CBS he’s going into the meeting with low expectations.
Today the ABS releases the tourist arrivals for May, but the most hotly anticipated data is expected on Thursday when the ABS releases the June employment report. Job-creation has slowed in recent months with 12 000 jobs added in May. Economists expect an increase in total jobs of around 15,000 for the month.
Wall Street closed higher on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4 per cent to close at 25,019, the S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent to close at 2,801 and the NASDAQ was flat (up 0.03 per cent) at 7826.
European markets closed higher on Friday: London’s FTSE added 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt increased also 0.4 per cent.
Asian markets closed mixed on Friday, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 1.9 per cent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.2 per cent.
On the futures markets, the SPI futures are pointing to a 7 pts loss. On Friday, the Australian share market closed flat with the S&P/ASX 200 Index closing at 6268.
Private hospitals operator, Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) has made a $1 billion dollar takeover bid for Swedish hospitals group Capio. If successful, the acquisition would further expand the company’s operations in Europe. Capio has healthcare services in five countries and total sales of around 1.6 billion Euros. Ramsay says Capio has a strong portfolio of healthcare facilities in Europe and is a good strategic fit for the company.
Shares in Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) closed 0.96 per cent higher to $54.62 on Friday.
One company is going ex dividend today, Plato Inc Max (ASX:PL8) is paying 0.5c fully franked
One Australian Dollar at 7:40AM was buying US74.21 cents, 56.11 Pence Sterling, 83.37 Yen and 63.51 Euro cents.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.1 per cent loss.
Gold has lost $5.40 to $US1241 an ounce.
Silver has fallen 16c to $US15.81 an ounce.
Oil gained 60c to $US69.95 a barrel.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has added 1.5 per cent to US$6,386, Ethereum has added 3.7 per cent to US$454 and EOS has gained 6.7 per cent to US$7.49.