* US stock markets eased as Consumer confidence falls.
* European stock markets eased, as debt concerns remain.
* Asian stock markets ended lower, as traders await news of stimulus out of the US and China.
* Commodities prices lower, Gold prices are trading around $US1,669 while crude-oil closed around $US96.
The Australian market looks set to open easier, as we had subdued leads from the US and European as traders await news that central banks will act to stimulate their respective economies in a timely manner. Reporting today: see below.
The SPI Futures is trading above the key support level of 4200, ended up 0.1% (or 6 points) at 4353. The key levels for our index today are 4320 to 4380.
See below for ASX listed companies in the news today.
US stock markets fell overnight, as investors play the waiting game.
The S&P500 eased again as seven out of 10 groups in the S&P 500 retreated as the telecoms, industrials and material sectors had the biggest losses, while the energy sector rose the most as Hurricane Isaac bears down on the US coastline. Trading volumes on the NSYE were anemic again this time 26 percent below the 3-month average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In economic news confidence among US consumers fell in August by the most in 10 months as households grew more pessimistic about the economic outlook, while home prices in 20 US cities climbed in June from a year earlier, the first gain in almost two years, which is positive for the general US economy.
Trader’s focus remains on the Jackson Hole, Wyoming summit where investors may be disappointed if Fed Chairman Bernanke probably does not provide specific plans for further monetary action, which I expect to be the case. The Fed has already signaled last week it is ready to take further steps to jolt the economy, but their next meeting is not untill mid-September.
All ten company groups that make up the S&P index traded mixed, with Materials down -0.2%, Energy sector up 0.1%, Financials sector down -0.1%, Industrials sector was down -0.4%, Health Care down -0.2%, Technology was down -0.2%, while Consumer Staples were up 0.2%.
The Dow Jones closed down -0.3% (or -33 points) at 13,124, the S&P 500 index down -0.1% (or -1 points) at 1,410, the Nasdaq ended up 0.1% (or 3 points) at 3,073 and the smaller cap Russell 2000 was up 0.2%.
European stock markets declined to a 3-week low, snapping two days of gains, due to concerns over debt issues. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid -0.7%, but the benchmark idex is still up 14% percent from its low in early June, when the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi pledged to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro and the European political leaders agreed to ease repayment terms on loans to Spanish banks.
Traders showed unease as the Spanish region of Catalonia asked for a bailout from the central government when it said that it will ask for a EUR5 billion loan from the country’s central government. The Spanish cabinet approved a fund of as much as EUR18 billion in July to help the most indebted regional governments manage their financial deficits. The German market retreated on the news, while in London the market ended flat.
In London the FTSE 100 index closed down -0.1% at 5,775, the German DAX was closed down -0.6% (or -45 points) at 7,002, while in France the CAC closed down -0.9% (or -31 points) at 3,431 and Spain closed down -0.9%.
Asian stock markets generally fell yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific regional benchmark index dropped 0.5%, as two shares fell for each one that rose on the index. The index is heading towards three-week lows, but it has jumped 10% from its June low as traders anticipate that the US, Europe and China will take action to support economic expansion.
The Japanese market eased after Japan downgraded its assessment of the world’s third-biggest economy and as investors await indications of policy direction from the Federal Reserve. The government has lowered its assessment of the Japanese economy, cutting its view on personal consumption, home-building, exports, imports and industrial production, according to a monthly report released by the Cabinet Office in Tokyo today.
The Chinese Shanghai composite rose the most in three weeks, as steelmakers and oil refiners jumped amid speculation more state-owned companies will announce share buybacks. The followed the previous session were is index was down the most in six-weeks and finished at February 2009 lows. Stock prices were pushed higher after an unidentified official at the China Securities Regulatory Commission said that publicly traded companies, especially those whose stock prices are below their book values, have an obligation to buy back their own shares. Investors are still waiting for hints of further easing in Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech on 31 August at an annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In China the SSE Composite closed up 0.9% (or 17 points) at 2,073, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.1% (or 13 points) at 19,811 and in Japan the Nikkei 225 Index was down -0.4% (or -57 points) at 9,033, South Korean KOSPI closed down -0.1% for the session, while the Indian market closed down -0.3%.
The Dollar Index was lower at 81.37 on a higher Euro, while the Australian Dollar last traded lower at 1.037. Commodities prices traded mixed.
For the session the Benchmark crude NYMEX for August delivery was up 0.9% settled at $US96.33. Copper prices are looking for key support level as Copper for August delivery was down -0.4% at $US3.4625, while August Gold was down -0.4% (or -$US1.40) at $US1,669.70.
ASX News Today
ALL – Aristocrat Leisure the gaming machine supplier has reported a better-than-expected 40 percent rise in first half net profit to $34.7 million.
ALS – DuluxGroup has threatened to walk away from takeover talks with Alesco Corporation if the target company does not agree to resolve a dispute over the size of dividends in the deal.
BPT – Beach Energy the oil and gas producer has forecast increased production in the year ahead after posting a significant rise in full year profit.
CRF – Centro Retail Australia the shopping centre owner has posted a $223 million loss due to legal costs, lower property values and expenses relating to its recent restructure.
FLT – Flight Centre says the full year profit has increased by 43 percent as it reaps the benefits of expansion around the world.
GNC – Goodman Fielder has sold its oils business Integro for $170 million to a consortium made up of GrainCorp and Gardner Smith.
SVW – Seven Group Holdings the media and earthmoving machinery company has more than doubled its full year profit but is cautious about Chinese growth and Australia’s media industry.
UML – Tasmania’s only gold mine at Henty has helped Unity Mining return to profit with a $12.9 million profit.
VAH – Virgin Australia has returned to profitability due to its growth in the corporate travel sector.
Eveloution Mining (EVN)
Lend Lease (LLC)
Northern Star (NST)
Bega Cheese Ltd
Blue Sky Limited
ASX – to open flat
US & UK/Europe – modestly lower
Commodities Stock Index up 0.2%
Gold Stocks Index down -0.2%
Oil Stocks Index up 0.1%
US ADRs – Broadly lower!!…
BHP down -0.1%, RIO down -0.6%; AWC up 1.4%
ANZ up 0.5% & NAB up 1.1%
NEM down -0.4%, JHX up 2.4%, NWS up 0.5%
By Michael Hevern
Head of Research
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