* US stock markets were closed for their 4th July holiday.
* European stock markets were flat overnight ahead of the ECB and BoE rate decision meetings.
* Asian stock markets rose for a sixth day, yesterday but are expected to be in a holding pattern today.
The Australian market is expected to be on hold today, as traders head little lead in from overseas, as the European Central Bank and the Bank of England meet tonight. Markets held on to recent gains in Europe and in the US was closed. The Australian dollar eased overnight.
The SPI Futures is trading around the key level of 4100, ended flat at 4,142. The key levels for our index today are 4130 to 4180.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
US stock markets were closed for their 4th July holiday. The Dow Jones closed at 12,943, the S&P 500 index at 1,365, the Nasdaq ended at 2,976 and the smaller cap Russell 2000 was up 1.3%.
European stock markets were flat overnight ahead of the ECB and BoE rate decision meetings. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was flat and has rallyied 5.2 percent over the previous three sessions, and is on track for a fifth straight week of gains.
The European Central Bank is forecast by economists to cut interest rates by 25 basis points down to 0.75% this week, and traders are expecting for clarification on the bank rescue plan.
Traders are preempting further easing by the central banks as reports on service-industry measures in the UK and Germany missed economists’ forecasts.
In economic news a Markit Economics report siad a gauge of services activity based on a survey of purchasing managers fell to 51.3 in June, an eight-month low (down from 53.3 in May), while in Germany services PMI dropped to 49.9 last month (down from 51.8 in May). This news added to the speculation that the central banks need to add further stimulus near-term.
In London the FTSE 100 index closed up 0.4% (or 37 points) at 5,684, the German DAX was closed down -0.2% (or -13points) at 6,564, while in France the CAC was closed down -0.1% (or -3 points) at 3,268, Spain closed down -0.7% and Italy closed down -0.8%. Greece up 4.8%.
Asian stock markets rose for a sixth day, yesterday but are expected to be in a holding pattern today.
Across the region the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed to its highest level since early May advancing 0.4 percent, as five stocks rose for every three that fell. The Asian benchmark has gained 4.3% this year, which compares with the S&P 500 up 9.3% and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 5.3%.
The Reuters CRB index reached its highest level since 10 May. Mining and energy led the gains on the back of higher commodities prices.
In Japan the Nikkei Index rose 0.4 percent, as stocks exposed to the US markets led the gains. In China the Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended flat. Expectations are that China may cut lenders’ reserve ratio requirements (RRR) three more times during 2012, by 0.5 percent each time, according to a Shanghai Securities News report.
In China the SSE Composite closed down -0.1% (or -2 points) at 2,227, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed down -0.1% (or -25 points) at 19,709, and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was up 0.4% (or 38 points) at 9,104, South Korean KOSPI closed up 0.4% for the session, while the Indian market closed up 0.2%.
ASX News Today
BHP – BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and unions are back at the negotiating table in an effort to end an 18-month dispute over a new industrial agreement for the company’s Bowen Basin mines.
BFG – Bell Financial Group has warned it faces a loss of up to $2 million for the first half of its financial year.
CDD – Cardno says the acquisitions of two US-based companies with an emphasis on the defence sector and greenhouse gas abatement will contribute an extra $US48 million ($A46.96 million) of earnings for the group.
EGP – Crown the Casino operator is seeking regulatory approval to lift its stake in rival Echo Entertainment to 25 percent (from the current 10 percent).
LNC – Linc Energy will cut 60 jobs to ensure a maiden profit and cut cash burn by 50% in 2013.
ORG – Origin says the owners of the Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas project in Queensland have made a final commitment to the $23 billion project.
WHC – Whitehaven Coal has acquired more than 90 percent of Coalworks under a $145.6 million takeover offer.
TSE – Transfield Services the maintenance and construction company has won new contracts in the United States, New Zealand and WA totalling $200 million.
VAH – Virgin Australia in a first, has carried more domestic passengers than its rival Qantas over the 12 months to the end of May.
ASX – to open flat
US & UK/Europe – EU flat, US closed
By Michael Hevern
Head of Research
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