Australian shares are set for a lacklustre start after Wall Street pared early gains as the oil price plunged on Tuesday. Nervous investors are also awaiting the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision when it meets Wednesday US time. However, a number of US companies rebounded from losses including Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson and Amazon. Shares in Boeing rose by 4.5 per cent after reporting increased dividends and a share buyback. Shares in energy companies sank as oil prices dropped 7 per cent to a 15 month low.
US economic news
U.S. home building rebounded in November, driven by a surge in multi-family housing projects, but construction of single-family homes fell to a 1½-year low.
Wall Street closed higher: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per to 23 676 the S&P 500 gained 0.01 per cent to close at 2546 and the NASDAQ lincreased 0.5 per cent to close at 6784.
European markets closed lower: London’s FTSE shed 1.1 per cent, Paris lost 1 per cent and Frankfurt dropped 0.3 per cent.
Asian markets were lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 1.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.8 per cent.
Returning home, the SPI futures are flat. On Friday the Australian share market closed 69 points lower to 5589.
NIB (ASX:NHF) has announced changes to its private health insurance premiums. The private health insurer is set increase cover premiums for nib health funds by an average of 3.38 per cent across all products. Additionally, GU premiums will increase by an average of 1.8 per cent. The changes will come into affect on April 1 2019. Shares in NIB (ASX:NHF) closed 1.6 per cent lower to $4.81 yesterday.
One Australian Dollar at 8:45AM was buying 71.86 US cents, 56.85 Pence Sterling, 80.85 Yen and 63.23 Euro cents.
Iron ore is 2 per cent lower and is trading 69.03 a tonne.
Its futures are eyeing a rise of 1 per cent.
Gold has gained $1.50 to US$1253 an ounce.
Silver is 5 cents lower at US$14.71 an ounce.
Oil has lost $3.86 to US$46.34 a barrel.