The Australian share market is expected to open lower as a trade war between the US and the closest of its allies looms.
At 0700 AEST on Friday, the Australian share price futures index was down seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,009 points.
The Australian share market on Thursday finished higher after energy stocks rallied on stronger oil prices and local retailers gained on news Amazon will block Australian consumers from buying products from its overseas sites.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 27.2 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,011.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 29.7 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 6,123.5 points.
In economics news on Friday, CoreLogic releases its capital city house prices index for May, and the Ai Group’s Australian Performance Manufacturing index is due out.
US stocks fell on Thursday after the United States moved to impose tariffs on metal imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, prompting retaliatory measures from some of its trading partners.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent levy on aluminum imports from its allies would go into effect on Friday.
Mexico responded by imposing measures on US farm and industrial products, targeting pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses, as well as steel.
At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 251.94 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 24,415.84, the S&P 500 lost 18.74 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 2,705.27 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.34 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 7,442.12.
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEST was $US1,298.28 per fine ounce, from $US1,304.94 per fine ounce on Thursday.
IRON ORE: $64.81 +0.86(July contract)
Oil prices were mixed after data showed a larger-than-expected decrease in U.S. stockpiles last week but investors continued debating the future of the production-cut deal that has boosted prices.
The U.S. dollar recorded its second straight day of losses, as fears over trade wars and import tariffs came back into focus and Italian politicians seemed to have found a resolution to the country’s post-election gridlock.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.2% at 94.002, after skidding 0.8% on Wednesday.
For the month of May, the index gained 2.4%. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a wider basket of rival currencies, was little changed at 87.05, having risen 1.7% in May.
The euro was higher at $1.1692 versus $1.1666 late Wednesday in New York. The shared currency rallied to a high of $1.1725, after having dropped to an intraday low of $1.1510, its lowest level since last July. On the month, the euro dropped 3.2% against the greenback.
The Australian dollar is slightly lower after US stocks suffered significant falls as concerns about a trade war loom.
At 0635 AEST on Friday, the local currency was worth 75.66 US cents, down from 75.76 US cents on Thursday.
Britain’s top share index ended May as the month’s best-performing major European index, shrugging off worries over a political crisis in Italy as commodities-related stocks rallied.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the day down 0.2 per cent at 7,678.2 points, while mid-caps rose 0.1 per cent. A fall in financial stocks weighed on the market on the day as Deutsche Bank shares tumbled
Germany’s DAX 30 index closed 1.4 per cent lower, and stocks in France were down 0.53 per cent.
Asian stocks rebounded from a two-month trough on Thursday as the political turmoil in Italy that roiled global financial markets showed signs of easing.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.37 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.78 per cent after news that growth in China’s vast manufacturing sector accelerated strongly and well above forecasts in May to an eight-month high.
South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.6 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.8 per cent.
On Thursday, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.13 per cent, to 8,658.79.