The Australian share market is set to regain some lost ground in early trade after US stocks extended their gains as Janet Yellen took a step closer to becoming the next Federal Reserve leader, improving the mood of investors cheered by a solid jobs report.
The Senate Banking Committee voted to approve Ms Yellen's nomination to become Fed chairwoman next year, sending her name to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.
US economic news
Initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 323,000 last week from a revised 344,000 the week before. That beat expectations for a drop to 335,000.
Separately, the producer price index for October declined 0.2 per cent on the month, in line with expectations. That data points to subdued inflation in the US.
Wall Street was buoyant with the Dow Jones Industrial average closing above 16,000 for the first time ever, gaining 109 points to close at 16,010, the S&P 500 added 14 points to close at 1,796 and the NASDAQ lifted 48 points to close at 3,969.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.2 per cent after Markit's composite purchasing managers index for the euro zone fell to 51.5 in November from 51.9 in October, missing expectations of a rise to 52.1. London’s FTSE was relatively flat, Paris lost 14 points and Frankfurt lost 6 points.
Asian markets were mixed with China and Hong Kong lower after HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers index for China slipped to 50.4 in November from 50.9 in October, suggesting growth is slowing: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 290 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 121 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 1 point.
The Australian share market sunk for the fourth straight session yesterday and lost 0.4 per cent by close. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 19 points down yesterday to end the session at 5,288. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points up.
The Australian dollar dipped below 92 US cents for the first time in two and a half months after the head of the Reserve Bank Glenn Stevens said he’s open to intervening to reduce the value of our currency. At 8.20AM the Aussie was buying $US92.26 cents, 56.98 Pence Sterling, 93.31 Yen and 68.45 Euro cents.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the state accounts for fiscal 2013 today.
Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG)
will hold its annual general meeting today. The update comes after the magnetite producer announced its flagship Karara mine is facing delays, as problems with its tailings system continue to hamper the operation. Shares in Gindalbie plunged 8 per cent on that news yesterday to close at 11.5 cents.
David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS)
will also hold its annual general meeting today and there may be fireworks. It comes just days after some of the department store’s biggest shareholders met for emergency talks with chairman Peter Mason amid a revolt against the company’s board. Reports say top of their agenda was the surprise announcement by David Jones boss Paul Zahra last month that he wanted to stand down from his position, and then the chairman’s public defence of two David Jones directors who bought stock in the company only three days before better-than-expected quarterly sales results. Shares in David Jones fell 2.68 per cent yesterday to close at $2.90.
Gold is down $14.40 to $US1,244 an ounce for the December contract on Comex. Silver is down $0.12 to $19.93 for December. Copper is up $0.03 at $3.19 a pound. Oil is up $1.59 at US$95.44 a barrel for January light crude in New York.