Biden unveils federal pandemic response: Aus shares to open lower

The Australian share market looks set to open lower following mixed results in US markets and negative leads from Europe. Newly elected US President Joe Biden wasted no time dismantling his predecessor’s policies. In his first day in office, Biden re-joined the World Health Organisation and the Paris Climate Accord. His administration released a comprehensive pandemic plan. It mandates the wearing of masks on federal properties, public transport and in airports. Agencies have been directed to use wartime powers to require US companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment to help fight the pandemic. He will also be re-instituting the White House unit on global health security and biodefense. The plan will see the federal government support mass vaccination sites in stadiums, gyms and community centres across the country. All that aside, President Biden warns that it will get worse before it gets better, with the US pandemic related death toll expected to exceed 500,000 next month.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release preliminary retail trade figures for the month of December, and IHS Markit will publish the purchasing managers’ indexes for January.

Markets

Wall Street closed mixed yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.04 per cent lower, the S&P 500 gained 0.03 per cent and the NASDAQ closed almost 0.6 per cent higher.

European markets closed lower, London’s FTSE lost 0.4 per cent, Paris shed 0.7 per cent and Frankfurt closed 0.1 per cent lower.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 1.1 per cent higher.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.4 per cent fall.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.8 per cent higher at 6824.

Company news 

Amaysim Australia (ASX:AYS) shareholders voted in favour of selling the mobile business to Optus at yesterday’s extraordinary general meeting. Amaysim’s CEO, managing director and founder, Peter O’Connell, says the board is very pleased that shareholders have voted in favour of the sale to the company’s long-term strategic wholesale partner. Amaysim customers will continue to receive their plan benefits, with Optus intending to keep the brand intact. Shareholders also approved Amaysim's delisting and removal from the ASX official list. The transaction is scheduled to complete on 1 February 2021, after which the WAM offer will open to shareholders. Shares in Amaysim Australia (ASX:AYS) closed 2.6 per cent higher at $0.78

Mirrabooka Investments (ASX:MIR) is going ex dividend today. The company is paying 3.5 cents fully franked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:45 AM was buying 77.60 US cents, 56.53 Pence Sterling, 80.34 Yen and 63.80 Euro cents.

Commodities

Gold has gained $2.00 to US $1872 an ounce.
Silver was up $0.23 to US $26.00 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.16 to US $50.60 a barrel.
Iron Ore futures suggest 1.2 per cent rise.