Outlook: ASX poised to start week lower

Market Reports

As Australian investors return from a long weekend the local bourse looks set to start the trading week lower as investors absorb a weaker than expected US jobs report and higher than expected Chinese inflation figures.
 
Economic news

US jobs growth has dropped as hiring slowed last month. According to the Labor Department the American economy added 120,000 jobs in March, compared to 240,000 jobs added the month before. The US unemployment rate dropped 0.1 per cent to 8.2 per cent, as fewer American’s looked for work.

China’s inflation rate rose more than expected last month. According to the National Bureau of Statistics consumer prices grew by 3.6 per cent in March, increasing from 3.2 per cent the month before.

Figures

US investors returned to trade on Monday after an Easter long weekend, to start the trading week lower: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 131 points to close at 12,930, the S&P500 lost 16 points to close at 1,382 and the Nasdaq lost 33 points to close at 3,047.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE added 20 points, Paris added 6 points and Frankfurt lost 9 points.
 
Asian markets finished lower: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 198 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 142 and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 21 points.
 
The Australian share market shed 16 points over last week’s four-day trading days: On Thursday the S&P/ASX 200 Index closed shed 0.3 per cent, or 14 points to finish at 4,320. On the futures market the SPI is now 20 points lower.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7:15AM was buying $US1.0314 cents, 64.92 Pence Sterling, 84.1 Yen and 78.7 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today

ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ): Job advertisements series for March

National Australia Bank: Monthly business survey for March

Australian Industry Group - Housing Industry Association: Performance of construction index for March

Company news

Shares in Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE) dropped 2.27 per cent on Thursday, finishing the week at $2.15. A Transfield Services joint venture has been awarded a Western Australia Water Corporation contract valued at $378 million. Transfield has a 50 per cent share in the JV which will deliver operations, maintenance and operation asset management over the next decade. Shares in Transfield lost ground last week after the company cut its full year profit guidance from up to $135 million to $105 million. In the first half of the 2012 financial year Transfield Services posted a net profit of $32.8 million.

Shares in Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) fell 1.66 per cent on Thursday, closing the week at $65.29. Global miner Rio Tinto has awarded Southern Cross Electrical Engineer Limited (ASX:SXE) a $17 million contract for its Coastal Water project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Southern Cross Electrical Engineer will work to design and construct the overhead power lines as part of Rio’s plans to assure a sustainable water supple for its iron ore operations. Work is expected to start this July and finish in February next year. Rio Tinto reported a net profit of $6.7 billion in the 2011 financial year.
 
Ex-dividends today

Aberdeen Leaders Limited (ASX:ALR)
Ausdrill Limited (ASX:ASL)
Dolomatrix International Limited (ASX:DMX) 
WAM Research Limited (ASX:WAX)

Commodities

Gold is up $13.80 to $US1,644 an ounce for the June contract on Comex.
Silver is down $0.206 to $31.52 for May.
Copper is down $0.076 at $3.72 a pound.
Oil is down $0.85 at $102.46 a barrel for May light crude in New York.


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