Wall Street posts mixed finish, investors await Fed’s rate decision: Aus shares to open lower

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

Australian shares are set to slip at the open following a mixed finish on Wall Street on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, posting its first eight-day winning streak in more than a year, amid improving sentiment around U.S.-China trade relations.

This week all eyes will be on the US central bank's policy decision due on Wednesday. Markets are pricing in a near-certain chance that the Fed slashes its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points. Meantime, oil prices could spike after drone strikes hit Saudi Arabia's oil industry disrupting around half of the kingdom's oil capacity.

US economic news

U.S. retail sales rose moderately in August, driven higher by a jump in auto buying and healthy online sales. But there were also signs that consumers have become more cautious. The modest slowdown follows signs that consumer confidence, while still strong, has slipped a bit as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified

Local economic news

The week kicks off on Tuesday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issues data on home prices for the June quarter in its publication Residential Property Price Indexes. Also on Tuesday the Reserve Bank issues minutes from the Board meeting held on September 3. On Thursday, the ABS releases the August Labour Force publication. And finally on Thursday, the Reserve Bank issues its quarterly Bulletin.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 per cent to close at 27,220, the S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent to close at 3007 and the NASDAQ fell 0.2 per cent to 8176.

European markets closed higher on Friday: London’s FTSE added 0.3 per cent, Paris gained 0.2 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.5 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed higher on Friday: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained almost 1 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed higher, up 0.8 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to 0.1 per cent fall. On Friday, the Australian share market closed 14 points (0.2 per cent) higher at 6669.

Company news

Nine Entertainment’s bid to acquire Macquarie Media (ASX:MRN) has been deemed “fair and reasonable” to shareholders by independent expert PricewaterhouseCoopers. A report released to the ASX on Friday afternoon valued Macquarie shares at between $1.44 and $1.66, putting Nine’s $1.46 a share cash offer at the lower end of the range. Macquarie Media has recommended shareholders accept the takeover bid.Shares in Macquarie Media (ASX:MRN) closed flat at$1.45 on Friday.

Ex-Dividends

Alliance Aviation Services Ltd (ASX:AQZ) is paying 8.8 cents fully franked
Blackwall Prop Trust (ASX:BWR) is paying 3.5 cents unfranked
F.F.I. Holdings (ASX:FFI) is paying 12 cents fully franked
HUB24 Ltd (ASX:HUB) is paying 2.6 cents unfranked
Orora Limited (ASX:ORA) is paying 6.5 cents 30 per cent franked
Ruralco Holdings (ASX:RHL) is paying 84 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:40 AM was buying 68.68 US cents, 54.98 Pence Sterling, 73.95 Yen and 62.03 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore futures suggest a 3.7 per cent gain.
Gold has fallen$7.90 to US$1500 an ounce.
Silver was down 67 cents to US$17.50 an ounce.
Oil has dropped $0.25 to US$54.80 a barrel.