Australian stocks are expected to open slightly higher after a mixed night on Wall Street as traders stay cautious ahead of US President Donald Trump’s tariff announcement, and the release of US jobs figures on Friday night, Australian time.
At 0700 AEDT on Friday, the Australian share price futures index was up 14 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5,953.
The Australian share market on Thursday gained ground as news of potential exemptions for some countries from proposed US tariffs on imported steel and aluminium eased concerns about a trade war.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 40.9 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 5,942.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 41.2 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 6,046.6 points.
The S&P 500 was roughly flat on Thursday and oscillated between positive and negative territory as investors were nervous of making bets ahead of an announcement from President Donald Trump on metal tariffs after a volatile week marked by worries about a potential trade war.
Trump is expected to formalize 25 per cent import duties on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum, after saying Canada and Mexico would be exempted if they agree on a trade deal with the United States.
But Trump told reporters ahead of the announcement that he had a right to exempt or add countries, adding to uncertainty among market participants.
Front-month gold for March delivery edged down 0.5% to $1,319.90 a troy ounce.
Gold has stayed between roughly $1,305 and $1,360 this year, with some analysts expecting rangebound trading to continue based on swings in the dollar and expectations for higher inflation and interest rates.
IRON ORE: $70.03 -2.40(April contract)
Oil logged a second straight decline, as continued gains in U.S. crude production pushed prices to their lowest finish in more than three weeks.
Prices had dropped by more 2% Wednesday, pressured by a report that showed U.S. oil production hit a weekly record. President Donald Trump’s plans to set tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and the recent resignation of top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn also sparked worries over a potential trade war-raising concerns about global demand for U.S. oil.
The euro dropped against the dollar intraday, as some investors locked in profits on the currency after the European Central Bank held its monetary policy meeting.
The euro was recently down 0.8% to $1.2313.
In a statement, the ECB dropped a long-held pledge to accelerate its EUR30 billion monthly bond-buying operation if the region’s economy deteriorates. Indications that the central bank is on course to phase out of its stimulus program and eventually raise interest rates tend to boost the euro, which had been depressed by years of record-low borrowing costs.
The Australian dollar is lower after downbeat comments from the head of the European Central Bank sparked some negativity on financial markets.
At 0635 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was worth 77.89 US cents, down from 78.26 US cents on Thursday.
Relative calm returned to global markets on Thursday, as traders took a brief break from worrying about a global trade war and focused back on how fast the European Central Bank will end its 2.5 trillion euro stimulus program.
European share markets edged higher — the former for a fourth day — after US President Donald Trump’s push to introduce protectionist tariffs was tempered by signs he could spare some key trade partners.
Germany’s Dax and the euro both lingered in the red though as a bigger-than-expected drop in German industrial orders reinforced euro zone caution after the weekend’s inconclusive Italian election.
The FTSE in London ended 0.63 per cent higher, and the DAX in Germany was 0.9 per cent higher.
Asian shares found relief on Thursday as fears about a global trade war amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to introduce protectionist tariffs were tempered by signs the move could include exemptions for key partners.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.0 percent, while in Japan the Nikkei gained 0.54 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led the region with rise of 1.52 percent after China posted surprisingly strong trade data for the first two months of the year.