Poor US retail sales data hits Wall St: ASX set to open lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares are set to open lower this morning, following on from Thursday's modest losses. Shares on Wall Street opened sharply lower, before paring most losses, as disappointing economic data reported the worst drop for retail sales in nine years. These shock figures for December heightened concerns about the outlook for the US economy. Iron Ore has added 1.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar edged higher.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 per cent to close at 25,439, the S&P 500 dropped 0.3 per cent to close at 2,746 and the NASDAQ was up 0.1 per cent to close at 7427.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE added 0.1 per cent, Paris fell 0.2 per cent and Frankfurt was down 0.7 per cent.

Asian markets closed lower, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 0.02 per cent lower,Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.1 per cent.

Companies reporting 

- Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP)
- Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG)
- Healius (ASX:HLS)
- URB Investments (ASX:URB)
- Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC)

The ASX futures are down 11 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 0.1 per cent lower or 4points to 6059.

Company news

Medibank Private (ASX:MPL) saw a drop in their NPAT of 15.4 per cent in the six months to December 2018 to $207.7 million, from $245.6 million on the prior corresponding period. This was largely due to net investment income which fell by $55.6 million, driven by lower equity and credit market returns. Group revenue stands at $3,560.9 million for the six months – up 2.7 per cent from $3,467 million. The board decided to pay 5.7 cents per share interim dividend fully franked. Shares in Medibank Private (ASX:MPL) closed 1.78 per cent lower to $2.76.

Ex-Dividend

Argo Investments (ASX:ARG) is paying 16 cents fully franked
Plato Inc Max (ASX:PL8) is paying 0.5 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:30 AM was buying 71.02 US cents, 55.51 Pence Sterling, 78.49 Yen and 62.90 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has added 1.3 per cent to at US$88.32. It futures suggest a 0.08 per cent gain.
Gold has added $0.30 to US$1315 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.07 to US$15.58 an ounce.
Oil has risen $0.55 to US$54.86 a barrel.