The Australian share market is tipped to edge lower at the open, after US stocks lost ground following the release of the latest Federal Reserve board meeting minutes and despite a solid lift in private-sector job growth.
The minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting showed broad support from the board to gradually taper economic stimulus in the US.
US economic news
The US private sector added 238,000 jobs in December, well above the consensus estimate of 203,000. It is the best result for the survey in 2013.
The report is the latest data to show better job growth in the US and comes ahead of Friday's much-anticipated December jobs report.
The Australian dollar is lower after the release of that upbeat US employment data and the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's December policy meeting. At 8:20AM the Aussie was buying $US89.09 cents, 54.19 Pence Sterling, 93.34 Yen and 65.63 Euro cents.
Wall Street had a lackluster session: The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 68 points to close at 16,463, the S&P 500 was virtually flat, closing at 1,837 and the NASDAQ added 12 points to close at 4,166.
European markets followed that downward trend: London’s FTSE lost 34 points, Paris shed 2 points and Frankfurt dropped 8 points.
Japan's Nikkei soared on strong trade data from the United States, boosting risk appetite, with traders seeing buying from foreign pension funds. Meantime, Nintendo Co Ltd jumped after China temporarily lifted a ban on selling game consoles: Tokyo’s Nikkei surged 307 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lifted by 284 points, but China’s Shanghai Composite lost 3 points.
The Australian share market fizzled yesterday, ending flat. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1 point lower at 5,316. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release retail sales data and building approval figures today – both for the month of November.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
is reportedly working with the Business Council of Australia and think tank the Melbourne Institute to develop a new national economic indicator. Media reports say the BCA has written to its member companies to request support for an Australian Purchasing Managers Index, which will be developed with the assistance of Rio Tinto. Shares in Rio Tinto dropped close to a per cent (0.98 per cent) yesterday to close at $65.35.
Envestra Limited (ASX:ENV)
CEO Ian Little says reports the east coast of Australia is heading toward an imminent gas supply shortage are overhyped. Mr Little says there is ample supply to be tapped, but customers will need to get used to paying more for it. Shares in Envestra lifted 0.87 per cent yesterday to close at $1.16.
Gold is down $4.10 to $US1,225.50 an ounce for the February contract on Comex. Silver is down $0.24 to $19.54 for March. Copper is down $0.02 at $3.34 a pound. Oil futures settled at a six-week low, dropping below $US93 a barrel after a US government report showed that crude supplies fell for a sixth straight week. Light crude is down $1.34 at US$92.33 a barrel for February light crude in New York.