US Fed hold steady on interest rates: ASX poised to open lower


The Australian share market is set to open lower despite slight gains on Wall St. Yesterday in the US, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 tipped fresh intraday highs after the Federal Reserve committed to no interest rate hikes to at least 2023. The Fed also forecast the economy will grow 6.5 per cent, compared with the previous forecast of 4.2 per cent driven by the $US1.9 trillion stimulus package. They also expect the unemployment rate to fall to 3.5 per cent in 2023, down 0.2 per cent from its previous forecast inflation to pick up 2.2 per cent and then fall back to 2 per cent in 2022.

Local economic news 

The Australian Bureau of Statistic has scheduled data on Labour Force for February and Population Growth for the September quarter, with analysts expectation suggesting around 30,000 jobs in February has been added and the unemployment rate reducing from 6.4 per cent to 6.2 per cent while population growth to fall to its slowest annual growth since World War I.

Markets

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 per cent to 33,015, the S&P 500 added 0.3 per cent to 3974 and the NASDAQ closed 0.4 per cent higher at 13525.

European markets closed mixed, London’s FTSE lost 0.6 per cent, Paris closed flat cent and Frankfurt closed 0.3 per cent higher.

Asian markets closed mixed, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.02 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.02 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.03 per cent lower.

The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.2 per cent fall.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 0.5 per cent lower at 6795.

Company news that broke after market close yesterday

Australian shipbuilder and global defence contractor Austal (ASX:ASB) is set to deliver the ninth Guardian-class Patrol Boat to the Australian Department of Defence. The vessel was gifted by the Australian Government to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force at a certificate signing ceremony in Western Australia. The vessel is the second of four of such boats to be delivered to Papua New Guinea under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project which is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. Shares in Austal (ASX:ASB) closed flat at $2.41 yesterday.

Ex dividend 

Big River Industries Ltd (ASX:BRI) is paying 2.6 cents fully franked
Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) is paying 11.5548 cents unfranked
Beacon Minerals (ASX:BCN) is paying 0.7 cents unfranked
Big River Industries Ltd (ASX:BRI) is paying 2.6 cents fully franked
Countplus Limited (ASX:CUP) is paying 1.25 cents fully franked
Peet Limited (ASX:PPC) is paying 1 cent fully franked
PWR Holdings Limited (ASX:PWH) is paying 2.8 cents fully franked
Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) is paying 11.5548 cents unfranked
Swick Mining (ASX:SWK) is paying 0.45 cents fully franked
WCM Global Growth (ASX:WQG) is paying 2 cents fully franked

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:50 AM was buying 78.01 US cents, 55.85 Pence Sterling, 84.92 Yen and 65.12 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has gained 0.1 per cent to US$166.19
Iron Ore futures suggest 0.56 per cent gain.
Gold has gained $12.70 to US$1744 an ounce.
Silver was up $0.42 to US$26.42 an ounce.
Oil was down $0.29 to US$64.51 a barrel.

Our investor event is on next Tuesday 23 March with 5 companies presenting starting 12:30pm details including registration at https://www.finnewsnetwork.com.au/page/investor-events.
 

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