* Key markets in the U.S. and U.K. were closed overnight leaving local investors to fend for themselves on the last day of May.
* European stock markets finished slightly lower in subdued trading.
* Asian shares mostly fell yestersday, as the uncertainty over the European debt crisis and the faltering global economic recovery continue to weigh on sentiment.
The SPI Futures is trading below the key level of 4800, rising 0.3% (or 14 pts) to 4,676. The key levels for our index today are 4730 and 4650.
Australian shares are expected to trade flat today as we rule off the month of May. Locally investors will have to fend for themselves as key markets in the U.S. and the U.K. were closed. The mining tax will be in focus again, as the spectre of the carbon tax is also weighing on sentiment.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
Economic News Today
* Financial Aggregates, incl Private Sector Credit for April
* Q1 Balance of Payments & Current Account Balance
* Building Approvals – Private Sector & Residential Building Approvals for April
* International Reserves & Foreign Currency Liquidity for April
U.S. stock markets was closed overnight for the Memorial Day public holiday.
Commodities markets in both New York and London were closed for public holidays.
European stock markets finished slightly lower in subdued trading overnight as both London and New York were closed for public holidays. A top European Central Bank official has said that Greece could get another 20 billion euros in aid from its fellow euro countries and raise three times the amount through new austerity measures such as selling government property.
France has said it is not ready to give up nuclear power after Germany became the first major industrialised nation to announce it will close all its reactors, within the next 11 years, after the disaster in Japan.
In London the FTSE 100 index was closed at 5,939, the German DAX was down -0.1% (or -3 points) at 7,160, while in France the CAC was down -0.2% (or -8 points) at 3,950.
Asian shares mostly fell yesterday, as the uncertainty over the European debt crisis and the faltering global economic recovery continue to weigh on sentiment.
In Japan trading was thin because of a lack of fresh buying incentives and holidays in London and New York.
In China the Shanghai Composite ended lower for an eighth straight session in the red, due to ongoing fears the world’s number two economy could be slowing down, but in Hong Kong the market closed modestly higher.
The SSE Composite was down -0.1% (or -4 points) at 2,706, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.3% (or 66 points) at 23,184 and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was down -0.2% (or -17 points) at 9,504. The South Korean KOSPI was flat, while the Indian market was down -0.2%.
The Dollar Index was lower at 74.95 on a higher Euro, while the Australian Dollar last traded lower at 106.96. Commodities prices rose.
For the session the benchmark crude NYMEX for June delivery was up 0.4% to settle at $100.75. Copper prices are higher but still below 2-year highs as Copper for June delivery was up 1.7% (or 7.3 cents) at $US4.1760. June gold was up 0.9% (or $US13.50) at $US1,536.50.
ASX Market News
AAX – Ausenco has secured a further contract with Beadell Resources to manage a $75 million processing plant delivery at the Tucano gold project in Brazil.
BYL – Brierty has won a $185 million contract to provide mining services and infrastructure for new iron ore producer Gindalbie Metals.
EFG – Everest Financial Group has asked shareholders to approve de-listing from the local bourse and a buyback of around 40 percent of its stock, to complete the wind-down of the company.
GBE – Globe Metals and Mining the Africa-focused miner has released positive rare earth exploration results.
LYC – Lynas Corporation says UN nuclear experts have opened investigations into whether plans for an Australian-built rare earth refinery present any threat of radioactive pollution.
NHC – New Hope Corporation the coal miner has blamed last summer’s floods for a 42 percent drop in quarterly sales. The company has also updated their JORC compliant reserves and resources statement, increasing their coal resources by 56% to 1,539Mt while coal reserves increased by 12.4% to 544Mt.
ORG – The Origin majority-owned Contact Energy, has welcomed the granting of resource consents for 168 wind turbines and transmission lines to its proposed Hauauru ma raki wind farm in Waikato.
OZL – OZ Minerals the single mine gold and copper producer, will trade on a post consolidation basis from Monday 30 May until 10 June. The number of shares on issue will reduce by a factor of 10 to 324 million.
QAN – Qantas has suffered a further issue on its new flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, but the airline says it is confident the route is a viable one.
SDL – Sundance Resources the African iron ore explorer and developer, has refuted a report that its majority shareholder Hanlong Mining is considering a full takeover of the company.
SUN – Suncorp Group says it is still focused on insurance margin growth despite a $320 million hit from this year’s spate of natural disasters.
TAH – Tabcorp Holdings is to raise $US460 million ($A429.38 million) in debt from the US private placement market for the proposed holding company of its casino businesses.
TEL - Fitch Ratings has placed Telecom NZ’s credit rating on “rating watch negative”, citing the separation of its network, which was necessary to win government ultrafast broadband contracts.
WEC – White Energy Company expects to finalise work on the world’s largest coal briquetting plant and ramp-up to full production by the end of 2011.
WPG – WPG Resources, the iron ore developer, expects the mining regulator to approve its mining and rehabilitation plan (MARP) for the Peculiar Knob project in South Australia in July.
Local Corporate Reporting
Ivanhoe Australia Ltd (IVA) AGM
ASX – to open higher
US & UK/Europe – closed or flat
US ADRs – Generally Higher (prices from Friday’s close)
Commodities Stock Index up 0.3%
Gold Stocks Index up 1.9%
Oil Stocks Index up 0.3%
By Michael Hevern
Head of Research
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