Outlook: Aus shares set to ease at open

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks set to ease from its Christmas eve gains following dips in US trade amid losses in retail stocks and ongoing uncertainty in the count-down to budget negotiations.

Figures

Wall Street closed lower yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 24 points to close at 13,115, the S&P500 is down by 7 points to close at 1,420 and the Nasdaq lost 22 points to close at 2,990.

European markets closed mixed pre-christmas: London’s FTSE gained 14 points, last trading on Christmas Eve, Paris finished 9 points down on Christmas Eve while Frankfurt lost 36 points on its last day of trading, 21st December.

Asian markets closed up yesterday: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 35 points, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 150 and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 6 points.

The Australian share market closed higher on Christmas Eve: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 12 points up to finish at 4,635. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points up.

Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 8:30AM was buying $US1.037 cents, 64.35 Pence Sterling, 88.83 Yen and 78.5 Euro cents.

Company news

Fortescue Metals Group Limited ( ASX:FMG) will complete the Kings deposit at its Solomon mine, having schedule the resumption of the development for next month. The iron ore producer deferred the Kings project in September in response to volatile market conditions.
CEO Nev Power says the development of the Kings site will deliver an additional 40 megatonnes of annual low cost production.
Shares in Fortescue closed 0.68 per cent lower on Christmas Eve at $4.35. 

Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) has resumed pit development at its Zeta mine, within the Boseto copper project in Botswana, following the lifting of temporary restrictions preventing the deepening of the pit. The Botswana Department of Mines, Minerals, Energy and Water Resources accepted Discovery’s geotechnical report and lifted the restrictions it imposed last month following a small hanging wall failure within the open pit mine. Shares in Discovery Metals closed 1.59 per cent up on Christmas Eve at $1.60. 

Ex-dividends

ALE Property Group (ASX:LEP) will pay an 8 cent unfranked dividend.

Commodities

Gold is up $1.20 to $US1,661 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. Silver is up $0.14 to $30.04 for March. Copper is up $0.05 at $3.60 a pound. Oil is up $2.37 at US$90.98 a barrel for February light crude in New York.