Outlook: Aus shares set for lower start

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to open slightly lower after mixed overseas market performances overnight.   
 
US economic news

The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted index for wholesale prices, excluding food and energy, rose 0.4 per cent, the largest increase since January, after rising 0.3 per cent in June.
 
Figures

On Wednesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4 points to close at 11,410, the S&P500 gained 1 point to 1,194 and the NASDAQ slid 12 points to close at 2,511.

European stocks were mixed: London’s FTSE closed 26 points down, Paris was up 23 and Frankfurt was down 46 points. 

In Asian markets, stocks were mixed: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 77, Tokyo Nikkei was down 50 and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 7 points.
 
To the Australian share market, on Wednesday: The S&P/ASX200 Index advanced 57 points to close at 4,304. But, on the futures market the SPI is was down 12 points at 7.30am.
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:35am was buying US$1.0543, 63.76 Pence Sterling, 80.81 Yen and 73.06 Euro cents.

Economic news

Due out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is the average weekly time earnings for the three months to May.

Company news

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), shares gained 0.99 per cent on Wednesday, finishing at $39.82. The global miner has plans to duplicate QR National’s infrastructure, as it seeks government approval for a railway from its central Queensland coalmines to the port of Abbot Point. A spokeswoman has told media that the $1 billion-plus railway approval application is the first step in securing the project’s status as one of state significance. BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) reported a net profit of $10.5 billion for the second half of 2010.

Yesterday shares in Foster’s Group Limited (ASX:FGL) rose 0.61 per cent to close at $4.96. SABMiller took its $US10 million bid for the brewer direct to shareholders yesterday. The cash offer of $4.90 a share will be reduced by any second-half dividend that Foster’s pays, which has been forecast at around 15 cents. Foster’s reported a net profit of $312.7 million for the second half of 2010.

Ex-dividends

Three companies are going ex-dividend today. They are Argo Investments (ASX:ARG) with a 13 cent fully franked dividend, Australian United Investment (ASX:AUI) with a 14 cent fully franked dividend, and Diversified United Invetsment (ASX:DUI) with a seven cent fully franked dividend.

Commodities

Gold is up $8.80 to $US1,793 an ounce for the December contract on Comex, silver is up 53 cents to $40.35 for September and copper is up four cents at $4.03 a pound. Oil is up 93 cents at $87.58 a barrel for September light crude in New York.