The Australian share market looks set to open half a per cent lower as equity indexes around the world turn red including Wall Street despite a brief small rebound.
At 0700 AEDT on Thursday, the share price futures index was down 45 points, or 0.75 per cent, at 5,956.
In economic news on Thursday, the Reserve Bank is due to release its Index of commodity prices.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is expected to release private capital expenditure and expected expenditure data for the December quarter.
Meanwhile the Ai Group’s Australian Performance Manufacturing index is set to be released.
No major equities news is expected.
The Australian market on Wednesday closed lower snapping a five-day winning streak as the possibility of accelerated US interest rate rises spooked investors, and market heavyweight Telstra traded ex-dividend.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 40.9 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,016 points while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 42 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,117.3 points.
US stocks have risen from their session lows as gains in online travel company Booking Holdings and retailer TJX helped offset losses in healthcare stocks, only to head downward again later in the session.
Booking Holdings, formerly known as Priceline, rose 7.7 per cent after reporting upbeat quarterly profit, helped by higher hotel bookings.
Off-price apparel seller TJX jumped about 10 per cent after posting upbeat same-store sales. Their shares along with those of big tech companies helped lift the S&P 500.
About 76 per cent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped profit estimates, according to Thomson Reuters. That is above the average 72 per cent recorded in the past four quarters.
In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.61 per cent at 25,254.67, the S&P 500 was 0.16 per cent lower at 2,739.78 after briefly lifting just inside positive territory, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.09 per cent at 7,323.56, after also rebounding into the green for a short period.
Gold prices made a last-minute turn lower on Wednesday, contributing to the metal’s first monthly loss since October, even as the U.S. dollar made a less-than-impressive move higher.
IRON ORE: $77.15 -0.35(April contract)
Oil prices settled sharply lower Wednesday, with U.S. benchmark crude losing more than 4% in February for its first monthly drop since August. A bigger-than-expected weekly climb in U.S. crude stockpiles and a fresh weekly record in domestic production contributed to oil’s losses for the session.
April WTI crude fell $1.37, or 2.2%, to settle at $61.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest finish since Feb. 16.
The U.S. dollar edged higher Wednesday, supported by increasing speculation that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates four times this year.
The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 0.1% to 84.14.
The dollar posted its biggest gain since Feb. 7 on Tuesday
after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers Tuesday
he has become more optimistic about the U.S. economy this year and that the central bank remains on track to gradually lift short-term interest rates. The currency has risen in six of the past eight trading sessions, and has gained 1% for the month through Tuesday.
The Australian dollar has continued its decline against its US counterpart which has continued to strengthen following Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments to Congress.
At 0640 AEDT on Thursday, the Australian dollar was worth 77.84 US cents, down from 77.97 US cents on Wednesday.
European shares fell on Wednesday as a batch of corporate results failed to offset concerns that US interest rates could rise faster than expected.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.7 per cent, with most bourses and sectors losing ground.
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comments on the strengthening US economy and inflation on Tuesday also shortened the odds on it hiking interest rates four times this year.
Powell’s comments sent Wall Street lower on Tuesday and on Wednesday, US stocks gave up their early gains.
Results from European corporates on Wednesday also failed to lift investors’ spirits.
Germany’s DAX closed down 0.44 per cent at 12,435.85.
British shares were dragged down by mining companies after weak factory data from China, while comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell reignited expectations of more interest rate hikes in the United States.
Asian shares also fell as data from Japan and China disappointed.
China’s manufacturing sector slowing to its weakest in more than one-and-a-half years and Japanese industrial output down the most since March 2011.
Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.12 per cent while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.44 per cent at 22,068.24.
Chinese investors dumped Hong Kong stocks for a second day, with fears that faster interest rate rises in the United States would kill the market’s bull run added to the weight of disappointing data.
Mainland Chinese sold a net 1.2 billion yuan ($A243.9 million) of Hong Kong shares via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, after pulling out a record 2.9 billion yuan on Tuesday.
The heavy selling pushed the benchmark Hang Seng index down 1.36 per cent to 30,844.72, capping its worst monthly fall in two years, while the China Enterprises Index skidded 2.1 per cent.