Australian shares are expected to ease slightly at the open today despite US stocks posting a modest gain on better than expected economic growth data.
On the ASX24, the SPI futures index was 7 points lower to 4345. The Aussie dollar is lower. It was recently buying $US1.0353, down from $US1.0372 late yesterday. It was also buying 82.62 euro cents, 65.38 pence and 81.46 yen.
Companies expected to report earnings today include Lend Lease, Macquarie Atlas Roads, Prime Media Group and Boart Longyear.
What you need to know
- SPI futures are 10 points lower at 4342
- The $A is lower at $US1.0353
- In the US, the S&P500 rose 0.08% to 1410.49
- In Europe, the FTSE fell 0.56% to 5743.53
- Gold fell $8.80 to $US1660.90 an ounce
- WTI crude oil fell $1.40 to $US94.93 a barrel
- Reuters/Jefferies CRB index rose 0.21% to 307.12
In a key economics release ahead of this week’s US Federal Reserve meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, new data showed the US economy fared slightly better than expected in the second quarter, but the pace of growth remained too slow to shut the door on further monetary easing from the Fed.
In the Fed’s Beige Book report of anecdotal information of business activity collected from contacts nationwide, the US central bank said retail activity, including auto sales, had picked up since the last report, and the US economy continued to grow ‘‘gradually’’ in July and early August
Making news today
In economics news:
- ABS private new capital expenditure and expected expenditure, June quarter 2012
- ABS building approvals for July
In company news:
- The following companies report full year results: Lend Lease, Astro Japan Property Group, Prime Media Group, SFG Australia
- The following companies hold general meetings: Metcash, Diatreme Resources
- Boart Longyear first half results
- Macquarie Atlas Roads first half results
- The following companies trade ex dividend: Insurance Australia Group, AGL, Tatts Group
Analyst rating changes
- Lynas cut to 'sell' at Deutsche Bank
- GrainCorp cut to 'underperform' at BBY Ltd
- Yancoal rated new 'underperform' at BofA-Merrill Lynch
- Centro Retail cut to 'neutral' at Macquarie
- WorleyParsons cut to 'hold' at Patersons Securities
- Peet Ltd cut to 'neutral' from 'buy' at Citigroup
- Sigma Pharmaceuticals cut to 'neutral' at Citigroup
- Wellcom Group cut to 'hold' at RBS Morgans
Italian government bonds rose, with two-year yields falling to the lowest in three months, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti’s effort to overhaul his country’s finances.
- Italian two-year yield fell 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point, to 2.94%
- Spanish two-year yields declined seven basis points to 3.61%
- German 10-year bunds dropped for the first time in six days, with yields rising four basis points to 1.38%
Treasuries fell as reports showing the U.S. economy expanded more than previously estimated and that pending home sales rose reduced speculation the Federal Reserve will announce another round of bond purchases.
- US 10-year note yield increased two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 1.65 per cent
US stocks edged higher on Wednesday in the lightest trading of the year as investors waited for a key speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday.
- S&P500 Index added 0.08% to 1410.49
- Dow Jones indus avg added 0.03% to 13107.48
- Nasdaq Composite added 0.13% to 3081.19
European equities mostly lost ground on Wednesday as investors took profits amid shifting expectations that the US Federal Reserve would unveil more stimulus measures later this week, dealers said.
- London's FTSE 100 lost 0.56% to 5743.53
- In Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.51% to 3413.89
- In Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.11% to 7010.57
Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in four days, as investors await a report on U.S. economic growth and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s speech on monetary policy this week.
- MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1% to 119.39
- Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4% to 9069.81
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.12% to 19788.51
- China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.96% to 2053.24
How we fared yesterday
Australian shares ended flat as investors dumped mining firms on worries about sliding commodity prices and sought defensive stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slipped 3.0 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 4356.4, while the broader All Ords lost 5.5 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 4381.5.
BusinessDay with agencies