Australian shares are poised for modest losses at the open following an advance on Wall Street, fuelled by optimism that officials will reach agreement on a fresh economic stimulus package. Pressure is mounting on the White House and congressional Democrats to strike a deal after employment figures released overnight showed that almost 1.2 million Americans had filed for unemployment. Back home in Australia, the federal cabinet's Expenditure Review Committee approved changes to the Jobkeeper scheme, softening the eligibility criteria from late September and giving more Victorian business access. The wage subsidy bill for the scheme is set to increase by around $15.6 billion on the back of these changes. Treasury now expects unemployment to hit 11 per cent before the year’s end and says the latest measures and Melbourne restrictions will cost the economy around $12 billion, wiping around 2.5 per cent from GDP in the three months to the end of September. Gold extends its rally and iron ore has made slight gains.
Local economic news
We are expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia to issue an economic update and a statement on monetary policy. AiGroup will also release the purchasing managers service index for the month of July.
Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7 per cent to 27,387 the S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent to 3349 and the NASDAQ closed 1 per cent higher at 11,108.
European markets closed lower, London’s FTSE lost 1.3 per cent, Paris fell almost 1 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.5 per cent lower.
Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.7 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.3 per cent higher.
Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.3 per cent fall.
Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.7 per cent higher at 6042.
Beacon Lighting Group (ASX:BLX) has advised that with stage 4 restrictions in place, 28 Beacon Lighting stores in Melbourne metropolitan areas will close to in-store retail customers for the six weeks. However, all Beacon Lighting Melbourne metropolitan stores (except Springvale) will remain open to provide in-store services to its trade customers. With stage 3 restrictions in effect in regional Victoria, all 4 Victorian regional Beacon Lighting stores remain open and continue to trade as normal. Shares in Beacon Lighting Group (ASX:BLX) closed 4.1 per cent higher at $1.15 yesterday.
One Australian Dollar at 6:55 AM was buying 72.36 US cents, 55.07 Pence Sterling, 76.37 Yen and 60.94 Euro cents.
Iron Ore gained 2.7% to US$121.27
Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.2 per cent fall.
Gold has gained $26.40 to US$2076 an ounce.
Silver was up $2.15 to US$29.04 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.22 to US$41.97 a barrel.