Outlook: ASX starts FY15 with RBA rate call

Market Reports

The start of the new 2015 financial year will be marked by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s July interest rate decision this afternoon. Following mixed leads trade should be steady ahead of the call with rates widely expected to remain on hold at record lows for the tenth straight meeting.  
 
Over the year gone the Australian share market delivered its second straight financial year of double digit returns and gained 12.35 per cent in fiscal 2014. The Aussie dollar snapped three fiscal years of falls and rose $US0.02 over the 12 months to the end of June 2014. 
 
Markets will also today digest China’s official read on manufacturing activity. Ahead of the print iron ore and oil were trading lower but gold and copper prices have firmed. 
 
US economic news 
 
US pending home sales rose more than expected and posted the largest monthly gain since April 2010. The National Association of Realtors showed US pending home sales climbed 6.1 per cent in May.
 
Global markets

Wall Street ended mixed on Monday following a strong first half performance: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.15 per cent to close at 16,827, the S&P 500 dipped 0.04 per cent to close at 1,960 and the Nasdaq firmed 0.23 per cent to close at 4,408.
 
European markets started the week mixed: London's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 per cent, France's CAC 40 lost 0.32 per cent and Germany's DAX added 0.18 per cent.
 
Asian markets finished mixed yesterday: Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.44 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.13 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.58 per cent.
 
Australian investors were in a selling mood on the last day of the financial year and sank 0.9 per cent on Monday, extending June’s fall of 1.8 per cent over the month: The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 49 points yesterday to finish the 2014 financial year at 5,396. On the futures market the SPI is pointing 9 points higher. 
 
Currencies 
 
The Australian dollar at 7:20am was buying $US0.9431, 55.15 Pence Sterling, 95.57 Yen and 68.89 Euro cents.
 
Economic news due out today 
 
Reserve Bank of Australia: July board meeting, interest rate decision & index of commodity prices for June
 
RP Data-Rismark: Home prices for June 
 
The Australian Industry Group: Performance of manufacturing (PMI) index for June

June’s winners and losers
 
Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) jumped to the top 200’s best performer in June after the exploration company sold its stake in the Browse Basin offshore gasfield to Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) for $800 million. Shares in Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) also gained ground after boosting its annual output forecast following the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the $US19 billion PNG LNG Project ahead of schedule. Frank Lowy’s $70 billion restructure was well received on debut with Australian and New Zealand focussed Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) and internationally focussed Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) both ending June stronger. Shares in June’s best performer Karoon Gas Australia jumped 24.4 per cent over the month but fell 1.29 per cent yesterday to close at $3.07 on Monday. 
 
Shares in BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) weighed on the broader bourse in June on the back of the iron ore price sinking to near two year lows. Iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) fell 1.4 per cent over the month while Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) managed to eke out a monthly gain of 0.02 per cent. The Big Four Banks also ended June down for the month while the retail sector suffered write-downs following a fall in consumer confidence after May’s Federal Budget. Shares in BHP Billiton dropped 3 per cent over June and declined 1.43 per cent yesterday to close at $35.90 on Monday. 
 
Ex-dividends today
 
eBet Limited (ASX:EBT) paying a 5.5 cent 50 per cent franked dividend
 
Ex-dividends tomorrow
 
Collins Foods Limited (ASX:CKF) paying a 6 cent fully franked dividend
GrainCorp Limited (ASX:GNC) paying a 15 cent fully franked dividend
Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX:PRG) paying an 11 cent fully franked dividend
 
Commodities 
 
Gold has gained $2.00 to $US1,322 an ounce for the August contract on Comex. 
Silver has lost $0.07 to $21.01 for July. 
Copper has firmed $0.04 to $3.20 a pound. 
Oil has slipped $0.37 to $US105.37 a barrel for August light crude in New York.