Investors monitor new Covid strain in the UK: ASX set to open higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Following mixed leads from US markets, the Australian share market looks set to open higher. Stocks recovered ground across Europe yesterday. The France-UK border will remain closed until further notice as several countries raced to close their borders with Britain due to the new Covid virus strain. The European Commission said people should be allowed home if they test negative. New South Wales residents wait anxiously to hear from the Premier later today on social gathering restrictions for Christmas. The number of cases in the state has so far been tracking down from 30 to just 8 yesterday.

Local economic news 

International Merchandise Trade figures will be released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7 per cent to close at 30,016, the S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to 3687 and the NASDAQ closed 0.5 per cent higher at 12,808.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.6 per cent, Paris gained 1.4 per cent and Frankfurt closed 1.3 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed lower: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost over 1 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.7 per cent while Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 1.9 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to almost 1 per cent gain.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 1.1 per cent lower at 6600.

Company news 

Challenger (ASX:CGF) has entered into an agreement to acquire MyLifeMyFinance for $35 million from MyLifeMyMoney Superannuation Fund (also known as Catholic Super). MyLifeMyFinance is Australian-based customer savings and loans bank.This acquisition provides Challenger the opportunity to significantly expand its secure retirement income offering. Following the acquisition, Challenger will hold an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) licence, providing access to Australia’s $1 trillion term deposit market. Shares in Challenger (ASX:CGF) closed 2.19 per cent lower at $5.81 yesterday.

Ex-Dividends

Briscoe Group (ASX:BGP) is paying 5.63 cents unfranked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:35 AM was buying 75.30 US cents, 56.30 Pence Sterling, 78.03 Yen and 61.92 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has dropped 6.8 per cent to $164.53.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 3.5 per cent fall
Gold has lost $16.20 to US$1867 an ounce.
Silver has fallen $1.01 to US$25.37 an ounce.
Oil was down $1.06 to US$46.91 a barrel.