Outlook: Aus shares set for flat start

Market Reports

The Australian share market is set to remain relatively unmoved in early trade today, after US stocks rebounded on a raft of impressive corporate earnings and the announcement of a new leader for Microsoft.
 
Analysts say US investors were shopping for bargains after steep falls on Wall Street in the prior session that created a domino effect around the globe - with Australia’s stock market among those dropping heavily.  

Currencies
 
As global markets calmed overnight, the Australian dollar climbed. It was also in reaction to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to hold interest rates steady for the time being.At 8:33AM the Aussie was buying $US89.3 cents, 54.71 Pence Sterling, 90.78 Yen and 66.09 Euro cents.
 
Figures

Wall Street bounced back to regain some of the losses it took in the previous session: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 72 points to close at 15,445, the S&P 500 added 13 points to close at 1,755 and the NASDAQ lifted by 35 points to close at 4,032.
 
European markets mostly edged lower on weaker than expected corporate earnings from the likes of ARM and telco KPN: London’s FTSE lost 16 points, Paris added 10 points and Frankfurt dropped 59 points.
 
Asian markets dived on that weak factory data in the US. Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 4.2 per cent, as the yen lifted, crushing sentiment: Tokyo’s Nikkei plummeted by 611 points, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled by 638 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 17 points.
 
The Australian share market suffered heavy losses yesterday following disappointing manufacturing data out of the US and China. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed nearly 91 points down to finish at 5,097. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher. 
 
Economic news

AiG will release its performance of services index for January.
 
Company news
 
Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) is set to post its first half results today, as earnings season kicks off. The announcement comes after the casino operator inked a $70 million deal to sell its Jupiters Townsville casino to Colonial Leisure Group last month. Shares in Echo Entertainment dropped 0.43 per cent yesterday to close at $2.32.
 
WAM Active Limited (ASX:WAA) has generated a first half operating profit after tax of $2.1 million, up more than 85 per cent on the same period a year ago. The fund says the rise in profit is connected to the size of its investment portfolio, which increased by nearly 18 per cent in calendar 2013. Shares in WAM Active lifted 0.4 per cent yesterday to close at $1.27. 
 
Commodities

Gold is down $8.70 to $US1,251 an ounce for the April contract on Comex. Silver is up $0.01 to $19.42 for March. Copper is up $0.01 at $3.19 a pound. Oil is up $0.76 at US$97.19 a barrel for March light crude in New York.

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