US/China trade talk progress lifts Wall St: ASX set to open lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares look set to open lower this morning despite a rally on Wall Street. US equities managed to close at the highest levels in almost four months after President Donald Trump postponed the date for boosting tariffs on Chinese imports, taken as a sign of progress in the trade talks. Oil retreated after Trump tweeted that OPEC prices are too high. The message comes two months into a fresh round of production cuts from OPEC and other nations. Meanwhile bonds yields rose.

Reporting companies

- Amaysim Australia (ASX:AYS)
- Bingo Industries (ASX:BIN)
- Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX)
- Estia Health (ASX:EHE)
- Healthscope (ASX:HSO)
- Slater & Gordon (ASX:SGH)
- Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI)

Markets 

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to close at 26,092, the S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent to close at 2,796 and the NASDAQ was up 0.4 per cent to close at 7554.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.1 per cent, Paris gained 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.4 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed higher, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 0.5 per cent higher,Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 5.6 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the ASX futures are down 15 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 0.3 per cent higher or 19 points at 6186.

Company news

Mercury New Zealand (ASX:MCY) released this half year financial highlights today showing a drop in NPAT from $131 million to $104 million. This was negatively impacted by change in fair value of financial instruments reflecting higher future prices. EBITDAF stands at $302 million down from the prior corresponding period of $304 million. Highlights from the 2018 calendar year included the purchase of a 19.99 per cent stake in Tilt Renewables (ASX:TLT); a $50 million share buy-back; the commissioning of a grid-tied Tesla battery for testing at our Solar R&D centre in Penrose; and the announcement of the sale of the Metrix smart metering business for $270 million The Board has declared an interim fully imputed dividend of 6.2 cents per share to our 85,000 owners including the Crown. This represents an increase of 3.3% on the FY2018 interim dividend. The dividend will be paid on 1 April 2019. Shares in Mercury New Zealand (ASX:MCY) closed flat at $3.51 yesterday.

Ex-dividends

8IP Emerging Companies (ASX:8EC) is paying 1.5 cents unfranked
Alumina (ASX:AWC) is paying 19.6872 cents fully franked
Coca-Cola (ASX:CCL) is paying 26 cents 50 per cent franked
Codan (ASX:CDA) is paying 6.5 cents fully franked
Challenger (ASX:CGF) is paying 17.5c fully franked
Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) is paying 62.7 cents 75 per cent franked
IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) is paying 25.5 cents fully franked
Pengana Capital Group (ASX:PCG) is paying 4 cents unfranked
Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) is paying 10.5 cents fully franked
Santos (ASX:STO) is paying 8.6556 cents fully franked
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) is paying 200c fully franked
WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) is paying 12.5 cents unfranked


Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:40 AM was buying 71.69 US cents, 54.75 Pence Sterling, 79.62 Yen and 63.13 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has dropped 2.1 per cent to at US$84.84. It futures suggest a 2.5 per cent fall.
Gold has dropped $3.60 to US$1329 an ounce.
Silver has lost $0.07 to US$15.94 an ounce.
Oil has fallen $1.90 to US$55.36 a barrel.