The Australian share market looks set to pause from the year’s really and slip in the last day of the year. While Wall Street mainly finished weaker overnight the three major indexes have jumped more than 25 per cent this year.
Most global markets are also on track to book a bumper year of gains including the local benchmark which has advanced about 15 per cent over 2013.
Today’s trading volumes are expected to be subdued over a shortened session - ahead of New Years celebrations tonight and tomorrow's public holiday before trade resumes again on Thursday.
US economic news
The National Association of Realtors has shown pending American home sales firmed last month from the month before but remain lower over the year. The Pending Home Sales Index is based on signed contracts and gained 0.2 per cent to 101.7 in November but was 1.6 per cent lower from the year before.
Wall Street's major indexes started the week is soft yet mixed fashion: The Dow Jones Industrial Average booked its 51st record close this year, gaining 26 points to close at 16,504. The S&P 500 dipped 0.33 points to close at 1,841. The NASDAQ eased 2 points to close at 4,154.
European markets started the week in the red with UK stocks snapping six days of gains: London’s FTSE lost 20 points, Paris lost 2 points and Frankfurt lost 37 points.
Across Asian the markets were mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 112 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 2 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 4 points.
The Australian share market climbed 0.6 per cent yesterday, extending a gain of 15 per cent gain over 2013: The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 33 points to close at 5,357. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.
The Australian dollar is on track for its largest annual decline since 2008 against the greenback. At 8:30am the Aussie had firmed from Monday’s close and was buying $US0.8907, 54 Pence Sterling, 93.58 Yen and 64.58 Euro cents.
2012 best and worst performers
Last year’s best performing stock Maverick Drilling and Exploration Limited (ASX:MAD)
has not been so fortunate this year. The oil and gas explorer and producer’s stock surged 227 per cent in 2012 but has fallen almost 40 per cent in 2013 on the back of disappointing drilling results. Michael Yeager was appointed CEO and Executive Chairman in October and said at the time the company is expected to grow significantly. Shares in Maverick Drilling and Exploration rose 1.15 per cent yesterday to end the session at $0.44.
Last year’s worst performing stock Aveo Group (ASX:AOG)
, formally FKP Property Group (ASX:FKP)
, has experienced a stellar turnaround over the past twelve months. Last year when the property and investment company was trading under the name FKP Property Group its stock plunged 57 per cent over the 2012 calendar year. This year the company decided to refine its strategy and change its name to Aveo and has seen a share price jump of more than 88 per cent over the 2013 calendar year. Shares in Aveo Group jumped 7.04 per cent yesterday to end the session at $2.13.
Ex-dividends this week
Clime Capital (ASX:CAM)
paying a 1 cent fully franked dividend
Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX:PRG)
paying a 6 cent fully franked dividend
The price of gold has retreated $10.20 to $US1,204 an ounce for the February contract on Comex.
Silver has eased $0.43 to $19.62 for March.
Copper is flat at $3.38 a pound.
Oil has fallen $1.03 at $US99.29 a barrel for January light crude in New York.