* US stock markets fell for a second session, but corporate earnings are still improving.
* European stock markets ended in lower again, on the back of rising concerns over the state of the eurozone debt crisis.
* Asian stock markets ended mixed yesterday, as traders remained cautious over what is unfolding with eurozone debt, and are expected to ease again today.
* Commodities prices were lower, with Gold prices traded around $US1,639, while crude-oil closed around $US102.
Australian shares are expected to ease again today, after stocks overseas saw more profit-taking. Markets sold-down from the open and closed lower overnight in the European markets and in the US.
The SPI Futures is trading above the key pivot level of 4250, ended down -0.1% (or -3 points) at 4,369. The key levels for our index today are 4320 to 4400.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
US stock markets fell for a second session, as traders weighed concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and data showing slowing economic data, against better-than-expected corporate earnings news.
The there major indexes closed down around -0.5%, with the Industrials and Technology sectors leading the falls.
In economic news the employment, housing and manufacturing data all showed slowing readings. Business conditions for the Mid-Atlantic manufacturers declined more than expected last month, while sales of previously owned homes in the US fell in March for the second consecutive month. There was positive news with the index of leading economic indicators in March posted the sixth straight increase, while the Federal Reserve said banks will have 2-years to bring their activities in line with the “Volcker rule” before regulators start enforcing it, which is expected to be seen positively by the banks and investors alike.
All ten company groups that make up the S&P index traded lower, with the Materials down -0.4% , Energy sector was down -0.1%, Financials sector down -0.5%, Industrials sector was down -1.1%, Technology was down -1.0%, while Consumer Staples were down -0.4%.
The Dow Jones closed down -0.5% (or -67 points) at 12,964, the S&P 500 index down -0.6% (or -8 points) at 1,377, the Nasdaq ended down -0.8% (or -24 points) at 3,007 and the smaller cap Russell 2000 was down -0.9%.
European stock markets ended in lower again, on the back of rising concerns over the state of the eurozone debt crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed down 0.5%.
Across the region the banking sector led the falls, particularly those with exposure to the PIIGS economies.
Traders continued to headed for the exits, as PIIGS countries must pay higher and higher funding costs to support their current debt levels. In a Spanish debt auction EUR2.54 billion of two and 10 year bonds were sold, just above the upper end of the range the government had targeted, but the yield on the 10-year bond came in higher than at the previous auction. Even Fance is starting to have to pay higher prices. The Spanish market slumped -2.4%, while in France the market dropped -2%, as rumours that the French credit rating could be lowered.
In London the FTSE 100 index last closed down -0.1% (or -1 points) at 5,745, the German DAX was last down -0.9% (or -61 points) at 6,671 while in France the CAC was last down -1.8% (or -66 points) at 3,174, Spain was down -2.4% and Italy ended down -2.0%.
In China the SSE Composite last closed flat at 2,379, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index last closed up 1.0% (or 214 points) at 20,995 and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was closed down -0.8% (or -79 points) at 9,588, South Korean KOSPI was down -0.2% for the session, while the Indian market closed up 0.6%.
The Dollar Index was higher at 79.56 on a lower Euro, while the Australian Dollar last traded lower at 1.0309. Commodities prices traded generally flat.
API – Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (API), the company behind the Priceline brand, has returned to the black with a 1H12 net profit of $18.3 million.
BHP – BHP has denied it is recruiting contract workers to replace retrenched union workers for a Queensland coal mine it closed.
CBA – Commonwealth Bank of Australia has detailed its growth plans for the years ahead, which include improved technology and customer service as the main focus.
CGF – Challenger the annuities provider and funds manager says funds have grown by 16 percent in the first three months of calendar 2012 due to stronger equity markets and rising sales.
CMJ – Telstra Corporation CEO David Thodey says the Telstra would look at increasing its stake in Foxtel should James Packer decide to sell out of the pay TV company.
FMG – Fortescue Metals Group the iron ore miner production in the first three months to calendar 2012 was impacted by cyclones in WA.
MTU – M2 Telecommunications has bought Primus Telecom for $192.4 million in cash, and will undertake a $83 million capital raising and the rights issue is trading under the code MTUR.
NWS – News Corp, the owner of the Fox television network, says it has suspended the voting rights of some stock owned by foreigners to comply with a US law that restricts the foreign ownership of broadcast licences.
SGP – Stockland the property developer, will cut executive bonuses after a review of its remuneration policies.
STO – Santos, the oil and gas producer, has maintained its full year production target after lifting its first quarter production and sales revenue.
TLS – Telstra has put on hold any decision to undertake a share buyback or lift dividends despite reaping billions of dollars from the national broadband network (NBN) deal.
WPL – Woodside Petroleum reported today its first quarter revenue was up 20 percent to $US1.2 billion, despite a 10 percent fall in production due to the impact of cyclones.
UXC Limited (UXC)
ASX – to open lower
US & UK/Europe – lower
Commodities Stock Index down -0.4%
Gold Stocks Index down -0.3%
Oil Stocks Index down -0.6%
US ADRs – Broadly Lower!!…
By Michael Hevern