MARKET NEWS

Australian market set to open flat
27/04/2017 7:12 AM

The Australian market looks set to open virtually unchanged, following Wall Street's uninspiring lead.

At 0700 AEST on Thursday, the share price futures index was down one point at 5,897.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.10 per cent, while the S&P500 lost 0.05 per cent and the Nasdaq was steady.

Locally, in major economic news on Thursday, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe speaks at the Renminbi Global Cities Dialogue dinner in Sydney where global Renminbi (RMB) trading hubs experts will discuss key issues in the internationalisation of the Chinese currency.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases the International trade price indexes for the March quarter.

In equities news, Ten Network is expected to post its half-year results, Coles owner Wesfarmers is slated to release third quarter sales figures and Newcrest Mining is earmarked to release its quarterly production report.

The Australian market on Wednesday closed higher for a fourth straight session, while the Australian dollar has fallen due to weaker-than-expected inflation numbers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 40.2 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 5,912 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 36.1 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 5,936.8 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is lower against the US dollar as traders shy away from commodity currencies following reports that the United States may withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The local currency was trading at 74.74 US cents at 0700 AEST on Thursday, from 74.95 on Wednesday.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.74 US cents, from 74.95 on Wednesday

* 83.02 Japanese yen, from 83.53 yen

* 68.55 euro cents, from 68.61 cents

* 58.18 British pence, from 58.46 pence

* 108.48 New Zealand cents, from 108.63 NZ cents

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEST:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.686pct, from 1.692pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.5644pct, from 2.5694pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.380 (implying a yield of 2.620pct), from 97.340 (2.660pct) on Wednesday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.160 (1.840pct), from 98.120 (1.880pct)

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)

$A falls against $US
27/04/2017 6:48 AM

The Australian dollar is lower against its US counterpart as investors shy away from global commodity currencies, spooked by suggestions the United States may withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

At 0635 AEST on Thursday, the Australian dollar was worth 74.69 US cents, down from 74.95 US cents on Wednesday.

Westpac's Imre Speizer said commodity currencies - such as the Aussie dollar - were rattled by reports the US may withdraw from NAFTA.

"(The) AUD initially extended losses to 0.7455 - a four-month low - before bouncing to 0.7483 in NY," he said in a note on Thursday morning.

The local currency subsequently has dropped again, and is also down against the yen and the euro.

Meanwhile "the US dollar index initially gained 0.6 per cent but shed around half of that following the US tax reform announcement", Mr Speizer said.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0635 AEST ON THURSDAY

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.69 US cents, from 74.95 on Wednesday

* 82.93 Japanese yen, from 83.53 yen

* 68.49 euro cents, from 68.61 euro cents

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session)

Banks lead Wall St catch-up in ASX gains
26/04/2017 5:23 PM

The share market has closed higher for a fourth straight session, while the Australian dollar has fallen due to weaker-than-expected inflation numbers.

The market's benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 0.7 per cent as investors caught up with recent gains on Wall Street.

The Australian dollar dropped more than a third of a US cent immediately after the release of March quarter inflation numbers at 1130 AEST, which showed a quarterly rate of 0.5 per cent, missing economists' expectations of 0.6 per cent.

Core inflation, which is closely monitored by the Reserve Bank of Australia, was even weaker at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent, leaving room for another rate cut by the central bank, economists said.

The local currency was at 74.95 US cents at 1700 AEDT.

It was already under pressure over concerns about US President Donald Trump's protectionism, after he applied tariffs to Canadian lumber entering North America.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said investors were catching up after Tuesday's Anzac Day public holiday, following two consecutive days of strong gains on Wall Street.

"We're responding to a couple factors. No doubt, US company earnings have surprised on the upside over the last couple of sessions and that's been one of the boosts today," Mr McCarthy said.

"But also, while we were on holiday, we did see rallies around the globe, so we're playing a bit of catch up on the Australian market today."

The inflation rate was not strong enough to warrant a near-term lift in interest rates and not weak enough to cause immediate concerns about the state of the economy, meaning little impact for the share market, Mr McCarthy said.

The financial sector was a strong performer, including a gain of 1.3 per cent for ANZ, a 2.6 per cent lift for Macquarie Group and QBE Insurance ending 2.1 per cent higher.

BHP Billiton added 0.6 per cent after cutting its full year copper production guidance and outlining plans to sell some of its US shale acreage.

Rio Tinto advanced 1.1 per cent and Fortescue Metals strengthened by 1.3 per cent.

A2 Milk surged 7.7 per cent to a record $3.20 after the milk producer forecast a 49 per cent jump in annual revenue thanks to better-than-expected infant formula sales in China and Australia.

Rival infant formula maker Bellamy's was up 5.2 per cent.

ON THE ASX AT 1630 AEST:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 40.2 points, or 0.68 per cent, at 5,912 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 36.1 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 5,936.8 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was up 24 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 5,898 points.

* National turnover was 2.04 billion securities traded worth $5.43 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.95 US cents, from 75.61 US on Tuesday

* 83.528 Japanese yen, from 83.35 yen

* 68.61 euro cents, from 69.46 euro cents

* 58.46 British pence, from 59.03 pence

* 108.63 New Zealand cents, from 108.23 NZ cents

GOLD

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,263.30 per fine ounce, down 10 US cents from $US1,263.40 per fine ounce on Tuesday

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.692pct, from 1.659pct on Monday

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.5694pct, from 2.536pct on Monday

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.340 (implying a yield of 2.660pct), down from 97.375 (2.625pct) on Monday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.120 (1.880pct), down from 98.160 (1.840pct) on Monday

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session and Monday, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST on Monday)