* US stock markets drift higher, with the Dow Jones snapping a 6-session losing streak, as trader sentiment improved after positive news out od the eurozone.
* European stock markets rose overnight, as Spanish and Greek stock markets bounced as bargain hunters steeped after their recent sell-off.
* Asian stock markets edged lower yesterday, after a poor lead from the eurozone and disappointing Chinese trade data.
* Commodities prices were lower, with Gold prices traded around $US1,593 while crude-oil closed around $US96.
The Australian market is expected to find some support today. Markets recovered overnight and finished modestly higher in the European markets and in the US. We have to digest the Federal Budget and the Employment Report, which surprised economists with Unemployment has surprisingly falling to 4.9%.
The SPI Futures is trading below the key pivot level of 4300, ended down -0.1% (or -6 points) at 4,295. The key levels for our index today are 4260 to 4320.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
US stock markets drift higher, with the Dow Jones snapping a 6-session losing streak, as trader sentiment improved after positive news out od the eurozone.
US traders pushed stocks higher after gains in the eurozone stocks as hopes rose that Greece might put together a coalition government. The Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500 rose around 0.3%, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq failed to finish in the green. The 10 S&P500 sectors were mixed with the Materials and the Tech sectors dragging, while Consumer, Financials and Energy stocks provided support for the markets, while defensive utility and telecommunications sectors led the gains.
In corporate news bellwether Cisco Systems, the networking-equipment makers, plunged -11% after giving a downbeat outlook for the next quarter and warning that big customers were exercising caution with technology spending. Priceline.com shares fell -5.3% after the online-travel booker reported 1Q earnings that exceeded forecasts, but provided a cautious outlook for the second quarter. After market JP Morgan shares have plunged -6.2% after they announces a $US2 billion loss tied to synthetic credit securities which were supposed to reduce risk in hedging their book.
In economic news, the weekly labour market report beat expectations, as claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly, and the previous week’s reading was revised slightly higher. Elsewhere the US Trade Deficit widened in March, as the US increased spending on oil imports and Chinese goods which overwhelmed record exports.
All ten company groups that make up the S&P index traded mixed, with the Materials down -0.3% , Energy sector was up 0.4%, Financials sector up 0.4%, Industrials sector was up 0.1%, Technology was down -0.8%, while Consumer Staples were up 0.7%.
The Dow Jones closed up 0.2% (or 20 points) at 12,855, the S&P 500 index up 0.3% (or 3 points) at 1,358, the Nasdaq ended down -0.1% (or -1 points) at 2,934 and the smaller cap Russell 2000 was up 0.4%.
European stock markets rose overnight, as Spanish and Greek stock markets bounced as bargain hunters steeped after their recent sell-off. The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended 0.6% higher. Across the region financials led the recovery ad energy stocks saw some bargain hunting.
The PIIGS economies were in focus as the Italian market up 1.7%, leading the eurozone higher. The Italian market got a lift from UniCredit (up 6.8%) after the Italian lender reported a 13% increase in 1Q net profit, beating the consensus forecasts, while in Spain the market rallied up 3.2%, after a move by the Spanish government to take a 45% stake in Bankia SA, Banco Santander SA also jumped 5.6%. The Greek market aslo pushed higher a traders become more hopeful of a resolution and coalition government being formed, after the Democratic Left party leader called for an all-party coalition that would enact the Greek promised austerity program, thereby qualifying for further bailout funding.
In London the FTSE 100 index last closed up 0.3% (or 14 points) at 5,544, the German DAX was closed up 0.7% (or 43 points) at 6,518 while in France the CAC was closed up 0.4% (or 11 points) at 3,130, Spain closed down -2.8% and Italy closed down -1.2%.
In China the SSE Composite closed up 0.1% (or 2 points) at 2,410, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed down -0.3% (or 5 points) at 20,227 and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was down -0.4% (or -35 points) at 9,009, South Korean KOSPI was down -0.3% for the session, while the Indian market closed down -0.4%.
The Dollar Index was higher at 80.20 on a lower Euro, while the Australian Dollar last traded higher at 1.0063. Commodities prices traded lower.
For the session the Benchmark crude NYMEX for June delivery was down -0.1% settled at $US96.79. Copper prices are backing off key resistance level as Copper for June delivery was up 0.4% (or 1.5 cents) at $US3.6740, while June Gold was down -0.1% (or -$US0.50) at $US1,593.70.
AMP – AMP one of Australia’s biggest financial services companies, CEO warns the federal government to stop tinkering with the nation’s superannuation system.
CRF – Centro Retail Australia the shopping centre owner says a $200 million settlement in a class action against it allows it to move on and focus on improving value for its securityholders.
CTX – Caltex Australia says it expects an improvement in earnings for its problematic refining business, but fears its margins will remain under pressure.
LEI – Leighton Holdings has been awarded $800 million in gas and water infrastructure contracts in Queensland.
NAB – National Australia Bank (NAB) shares are relatively steady after it reported a six per cent rise in its first half cash profit to $2.83 billion.
NWS – News Corporation says things will be tough for its Australian and UK newspapers in the final three months of 2011/12 due to soft advertising markets.
QAN – Qantas pilots have lost their Federal Court challenge to a ban preventing them from taking industrial action.
RIO – Rio Tinto chairman has told shareholders that he is more confident about the global economic picture than he was six months ago.
SGT – Singtel Optus has managed to lift its annual net profit by 1.5 percent to $787 million despite intense competition from its telco rivals.
VAH – Virgin says the ACCC regulator has formally approved a tie-up between Virgin Australia and Western Australia carrier Skywest Airlines.
ASX – to open lower
US & UK/Europe – higher
By Michael Hevern