The Australian share market is expected to open lower today after Wall St closed in the red. A fall in oil prices sparked a sell-off in energy stocks and Alcoa’s disappointing result weighed on the US market. Concerns also re-surfaced over the nuclear crisis in Japan after the government lifted its nuclear disaster rating at the Fukushima nuclear plant to the highest level.
To the figures: On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 118 points to close at 12,264, the S&P500 dipped 10 points to close at 1,314 and the NASDAQ declined 27 points to close at 2,745.
European stocks closed lower: London’s FTSE down 89 points, Paris down 62 and Frankfurt fell 102.
Asian markets, stocks were also lower: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 327, Tokyo Nikkei was down 164 and China’s Shanghai Composite eased 1 point.
The Australian share market fell 1.5 per cent on Tuesday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 73 points to close at 4,899. On the futures market the SPI is currently 26 points lower.
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 7:30AM was buying $1.0445 US cents, 64.27 Pence Sterling, 87.36 Yen and 72.17 Euro cents.
Economic news: Due out today is the Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment for April.
Company news: On Tuesday shares in Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ASX:ERA) shed 4.22 per cent to close at $7.72. Rio Tinto Ltd's (ASX:RIO) 68 per cent owned subsidiary, Energy Resources, has warned it expects a first half loss as it battles to meet its sales commitments due to the impact of wet weather on its operations. The uranium miner reported a 42 per cent fall in output in the March quarter and says it now expects its first-half earnings to fall to a loss of between $30 million to $50 million. Rio Tinto’s March quarter production report is due today. The global miner is being tipped to report lower coal production figures also due to the impact of wet weather. In the 2010 calendar year Energy Resources of Australia reported a net profit of $47 million
Yesterday shares in White Energy Company Ltd (ASX:WEC) closed steady at $3.13. Coal technology company White Energy has pulled out of its bid for the unlisted company Cascade Coal. White Energy says uncertainty surrounds the future of mining at some of Cascade’s reserves in New South Wales. In light of the risks associated with this uncertainty, both companies have agreed to mutual terminate the proposed takeover. In the first half of its 2011 financial year White Energy Company booked a net loss of $18.9 million.
Ex-dividends: The only company going ex-dividend today is TPG Telecom with a $0.02 fully franked dividend. Coming up later this week are CTI Logistics, FFI Holdings, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co.
Commodities: Gold is down $14.50 to $US1,453 an ounce for the June contract on Comex, silver is down $0.55 to $40.07 for May and copper is down $0.08 at $4.38 a pound. Oil is down $3.67 at $106.25 a barrel for May light crude in New York.