* US stock markets were closed for the Memorial Day long holiday weekend.
* European stock markets gave back early gains to close marginally lower.
* Asian stock markets ended higher yesterday, as traders showed some relief after weekend opinion polls in Greece showed a lead for a pro-bailout party.
* Commodities prices higher, with Gold prices traded around $US1,573 while crude-oil closed around $US91.
The Australian market is open flat today, as traders again had mixed leads from overseas and the US was closed. Markets eased into the close in the European, as the US market was for the Memorial Day holiday. The Australia dollar rose 1.1 percent to US98.58 cents overnight, bouncing off near 6-month lows.
The SPI Futures is trading below the key pivot level of 4080, ended down -0.4% (or -15 points) at 4,050. The key levels for our index today are 4050 to 4120.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
Economics News Today
* Q1 Construction Work Done
* Apr Retail Sales.
US stock markets were closed for the Memorial Day long holiday weekend. There is major US economic data due out this week including reports on consumer confidence, gross domestic product and, the May Non-farm payrolls report, which will give readings on the strength of the US economy.
The Dow Jones was closed at 12,454, the S&P 500 index at 1,318, the Nasdaq ended at 2,837.
European stock markets gave back early gains to close marginally lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed marginally lower. Trading volumes were low as markets in the US were closed for the Memorial Day holiday.
Sentiment was boosted early after weekend reports that the Greek conservative New Democracy party had swung into first place in polls ahead of the June election, paving the way for pro-bailout parties gaining momentum. The Greek market surged 6.8%, after teh reports that th EFSF would make available EUR18 billion to 4 of the buiggest Greek banks.
However traders continued selling the Spanish bank shares, after the Standard & Poor Ratings Services cut the credit rating of 5-Spanish banks. Bankia SA shares plunged -13.4%, after the bank late asked the government for a further EUR19 billion as part of a bailout plan. Borrowing costs remain elevated as yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds jumped 16 basis points to 6.45%, edging closer to the problematic 7%, and in Italy, the government sold EUR3.5 billion of zero-coupon bonds, at the upper range of its target as borrowing costs rose.
In London the FTSE 100 index last closed up 0.1% (or 5 points) at 5,356, the German DAX was closed down -0.3% (or -16 points) at 6,323, while in France the CAC was closed down -0.2% (or -5 points) at 3,043, Spain closed down -2.2% and Italy closed down -0.7%.
In China the SSE Composite closed up 1.2% (or 28 points) at 2,361, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.5% (or 87 points) at 18,800 and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was up 0.2% (or 13 points) at 8,593, South Korean KOSPI was up 0.5% for the session, while the Indian market closed up 1.2%.
The Dollar Index was higher at 82.50 on a lower Euro, while the Australian Dollar last traded lower at 98.53. Commodities prices traded higher.
For the session the Benchmark crude NYMEX for June delivery was up 0.3% settled at $US91.15. Copper prices are looking for key support level as Copper for July delivery was up 0.6% (or 2.0 cents) at $US3.467, while July Gold was up 0.3% (or $US4.10) at $US1,573.
BHP – BHP says it will not comment on rumours it is considering locking out striking workers amid a bitter industrial dispute in central Queensland.
CSS – Clean Seas Tuna says a mysterious illness is killing its stock of Yellowtail Kingfish, adding at least $17.5 million to its full year loss.
EHL – Emeco the earthmoving equipment supplier has forecast full year profit growth of up to 41 per cent due to strong demand in Australia, Canada in Indonesia.
FXJ – Gina Rinehart is believed to have lifted her stake in Fairfax Media and questioned the abilities of the company’s chairman Roger Corbett.
HST – The Hastie Group administrator of the engineering group, hopes that many of the 2,700 employees who have been stood down may be able to return to work.
MYR – Australians have rpeortedly spent more than $11 billion buying goods online in the 12 months to April.
ORG – Origin says the Australia Pacific LNG JV has secured $US8.5 billion in funding for its massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Queensland.
SGM – Sims Metal Management the metals recycler has warned of a large drop in expected earnings.
SGT – SingTel says the ACCC is set to approve an $800 million deal in which Optus will move some of it customers onto the national broadband network (NBN).
WDC – Westfield the shopping centre giant says it is confident it can attain its EUR1 billion euros in sales target in Milan despite continuing financial crisis in Europe.WPL – Woodside Petroleum recently reported 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.