The Australian share market is expected to open slightly lower amid nervousness over the US-led attacks on Syria.
On Monday morning, the Australian share price futures index was down six points, or 0.1 per cent, at at 5,810.
The Australian share market on Friday closed lower, led by healthcare stocks and the big miners.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 13.6 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5,829.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 13.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,924.7 points.
In economics news on Monday, Corelogic issues its weekly capital city house prices report and the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases its lending finance data for February.
In equities news, Transurban’s quarterly traffic update is due out.
Financial stocks led a drop on Wall Street on Friday as results from big banks failed to enthuse and fear of broader conflict in Syria further unnerved investors.
The S&P banks index fell 2.6 per cent and the broader S&P financial index lost 1.6 per cent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest US bank by assets, dropped 2.7 per cent after the bank’s quarterly profit fell slightly short of expectations. JPMorgan shares were the biggest weight on the S&P 500.
Wells Fargo sank 3.4 per cent after the bank said it may have to pay a penalty of $US1 billion ($A1.29 billion) to resolve investigations, while Citigroup dropped 1.6 per cent despite beating profit estimates.
Weak loan growth weighed on bank shares, said RJ Grant, head of trading at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in New York.
“If you didn’t own financials going into the quarter, there was nothing in the numbers today that would make you excited about owning them,” Grant said.
US stocks extended losses on Friday after the State Department said that it had proof that Syria carried out a recent chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 122.91 points, or 0.5 per cent lower, at 24,360.14, the S&P 500 lost 7.69 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 2,656.3 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 33.60 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7,106.65.
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEST was $US1,345.00 per fine ounce, from $US1,337.05 per fine ounce on Friday.
IRON ORE: $65.17 +1.16(May contract)
Oil prices closed at a fresh three-year high on Friday as the International Energy Agency predicted robust oil demand for the full year and as geopolitical risks to supply remained.
The U.S. dollar, which earlier touched a seven-week high versus the Japanese yen, didn’t have many wins in its column on Friday but still managed to eke out a small gain on the week, even as underlying geopolitical and trade fears persisted.
The ICE U.S. dollar index, which measures the buck against six rivals, was little changed in positive territory at 89.776, having pared some previous gains. Its weekly performance looked similar, little changed but in the green, retracing some of the previous week’s losses.
The Australian dollar is lower after US stocks fell on Friday as tensions about Syria results in cautious trade on financial markets.
At 0635 AEST on Monday, the local currency was worth 77.73 US cents, down from 77.90 US cents on Friday.
A plunge in software firm Sage’s shares put pressure on Britain’s top share index on Friday, while a rising pound weighed on big overseas earners.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.1 per cent and posted a weekly gain – one per cent – for the third time in a row, its best winning streak since early January as the focus turns to the upcoming first quarter earnings season.
Meanwhile the Dax in Germany was 0.22 per cent higher, and the CAC in France rose 0.11 per cent.
Shares in Sage were down 8.1 per cent, recouping some earlier losses, after the company cut its full-year revenue growth forecast after software subscription growth slowed in the first half.
Asian stocks were cautiously higher on Friday ahead of the US earnings season and as investors pondered the implications of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and the prospect of a global trade war.
Investors were also reviewing mixed data from China which showed March exports unexpectedly fell 2.7 per cent from a year earlier while imports jumped more than forecast.
While the figures pointed to robust demand from the world’s top consumer of crude, copper and iron ore, they left the country with a rare trade deficit of $4.98 billion for the month, the first since last February.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up a slim 0.1 per cent, having risen as much as 0.5 per cent in morning trading.
Chinese shares took a knock, with both the blue-chip CSI300 index and Shanghai’s SSE Composite falling 0.8 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched 0.07 per cent lower too while Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.55 per cent.
On Friday, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.13 per cent, to 8,414.77.