Wall Street ends a tough week lower - Aus shares set for weak start, Chinese GDP figures ahead


Local shares are set for a weak start this morning. On Friday local shares trimmed a strong intraday rise to close flat. In the US stocks fell to close out a tough week as investors mulled elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan along with the latest earnings from some of the biggest U.S. banks. Back home last week the ASX closed lower for the week shedding 0.6 per cent. A mid week comeback wasn’t enough to counter a poor start to trade on Monday and Tuesday. Gains in financial and IT stocks were offset by falls in consumer staples, health and industrial shares. The iron ore price fell slightly pushing the likes of Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals lower . It wasn’t all doom and gloom though the energy sector led gains as crude oil hit a near-11 month high and Asian LNG prices pushed higher on strong demand. Today the SPI futures are pointing to 16 point fall. On Friday, the Australian share market closed flat 0.1 points higher at 6715. In terms of a catalyst today all eyes will be on Chinese GDP figures which are due. China’s economy has fared much better than the rest of the world throughout the pandemic. Locally the focus will be the employment report due out later this week.

Economic news outlook

The week kicks off today with provisional overseas travel statistics for December. On Wednesday, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute issue the January consumer confidence index. While the ABS releases building activity data for the September quarter. On Thursday the labour force survey for December is due. On Friday, preliminary retail trade data for December is due (CBA Group economists expect a 7.0 per cent fall in sales. Spending surged 7.1 per cent to a record high of $31.65 billion in November to be up 13.3 per cent on a year ago.) Also on Friday, IHS Markit releases preliminary purchasing manager indexes for January.

Markets

Wall Street closed lower on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6 per cent to close at 30 814, the S&P 500 dropped 0.7 per cent to close at 3768 and the NASDAQ closed 0.9 per cent lower at 12,999.

European markets closed lower on Friday: London’s FTSE lost 0.97 per cent, Paris shed 1.2 per cent and Frankfurt closed 1.4 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed mixed on Friday: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.01 per cent.

Company news

Buy now pay later giant afterpay has overtaken Telstra to become the 13th largest stock by market capitalisation on the ASX. A 10 per cent surge in the company’s share price on Friday thrust its market cap to $38 billion. The performance of the stock over the last 12 months has been incredible with shares dropping to a low of $8.01 when the market crashed on March 23. Since then the stock has risen by a whopping 1562 per cent. Shares in the company closed 10 per cent higher to $133.15 on Friday.

Ex-Dividends

Plato Income Maximiser (ASX:PLA) is paying 0.4 cents fully franked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:45 AM was buying 77.10 US cents, 56.72 Pence Sterling, 80.00 Yen and 63.74 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore futures suggest a fall 0.9 per cent gain.
Gold lost $21.50 to US$1830 an ounce.
Silver has shed $0.94 to US$24.87 an ounce.
Oil was down $1.21 to US$52.36 a barrel.