Outlook: Weak overseas leads for ASX

Market Reports

Following weak leads from European shares and US markets the Australian share market should open slightly lower ahead of more earnings reports. Companies reporting today include BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL), Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX), M2 Group (ASX:MTU) and Orora Limited (ASX:ORA). A 2 per cent drop in the iron ore price has it sitting at US$90.10.
 
Speaking at an annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole on Friday, US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen called for a cautious approach to US monetary policy. Despite calls from the ‘hawks’ to increase rates sooner rather than later, Ms Yellen cited the need for further evidence of a recovery in the labour market before making any moves on interest rates there.     
 
Markets

Wall Street were mixed on Friday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent to close at 17,001, the S&P500 also lost 0.2 per cent to close at 1,988 and the Nasdaq added 0.1 per cent to close at 4,539.
 
London’s FTSE lost 0.04 per cent, Paris dipped 0.9 per cent and Frankfurt eased 0.7 per cent.
 
Asian markets were mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lifted 0.5 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite firmed 0.5 per cent also. 
 
The Australian share market closed higher on Friday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 7 points up widening the weekly gain to 79 points and finishing at 5,646.  On the futures market the SPI is 10 points down. 
 
Currencies

The Australian Dollar at 7.30 AM was buying 92.96 US cents, 56.22 Pence Sterling, 96.91 Yen and 70.5 Euro cents.
 
Economic news

Due out today is the CBA/HIA measure of housing affordability.   

Company news
 
PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) will today close on the acquisition of an 80 per cent interest in the Frieda River Copper Gold Project in Papua New Guinea. PanAust has agreed to pay Glencore and initial US $25Million and reimburse the Swiss miner for its expenditures on the project since agreeing to purchase it on 1 November 2013. A further US $50 million falls due in December 2015. Highlands Pacific Limited will hold the remaining 20 per cent. Shares in PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) closed 1.3 per cent stronger on Friday at $2.33.
 
Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) enjoyed a strong lift on Friday after the company lifted revenue by 25 per cent. The company also increased its first half dividend by 33 per cent after the early start up of its US$19 billion PNG LNG venture. Santos is currently delivering its strongest oil production figures for six years and sales are at a record setting the foundation for a stronger second half. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO)) closed 3.91 per cent up on Friday at $15.16. 
 
Ex dividends
 
CSG Limited (ASX:CSV) are paying a 5 cent unfranked dividend.
Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR) are paying 2 cents fully franked.
Pacific Energy Limited (ASX:PEA) are paying 1.5 cents fully franked
And Rackon Limited (ASX:RKN) are paying just over 4 cents with 90 per cent franking.  

Commodities

Gold is up $4.80 to $US1,280 an ounce for the December contract on Comex. Silver is down 3cents to $19.39 for September. Copper is up 3c at $3.20 a pound. Oil is down 31 cents at US$93.65 a barrel for October light crude in New York.