The Australian share market looks set to open firmly in the red without any lead from Wall Street and only a negative one from Europe and Britain.
At 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the share price futures index was down 34 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 5,869.
In economic news on Tuesday, Reserve Bank of Australia is set to release the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting, while RBA assistant governor (Financial System) Michele Bullock is scheduled to speak at the Responsible Lending and Borrowing Summit in Sydney.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s enforcement and compliance policy update 2018 is expected, as is the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence weekly survey.
In equities news, Vocus Group, Super Retail Group, Seven West Media, Virtus Health, Greencross and Oil Search are among the companies expected to release earnings reports.
The Australian market on Monday closed higher with most sectors posting gains, led by health care companies, big banks and industrial stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 37.6 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 5,941.6 points while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 39.2 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 6,044 points.
Wall Street was closed on Monday.
Gold futures fell modestly, giving up part of last week’s gain, as a steadier dollar weighed on the metal, and as the Presidents Day holiday in the U.S. gave many traders the session off.
April gold lost $5.40, or 0.4%, to $1,350.80 an ounce in electronic trading, while March silver shed a nickel, or 0.3%, to $16.66 an ounce.
IRON ORE: $77.20 +0.21(March contract)
Oil futures climbed, with the commodity picking up where it left off last week, when prices rebounded as investor appetite for riskier assets improved.
West Texas Intermediate futures rose 80 cents, or 1.3%, to $62.35 a barrel, after a 4.2% gain last week. The move higher, if it holds, would mark the fourth-straight winning session for U.S. crude.
The dollar was steady to slightly higher against major rivals, with a holiday in the U.S. giving the worn-down greenback a chance to catch its breath.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the buck’s strength against six other currencies, edged up 0.2% to 89.271. Last week, the gauge dropped 1.4%, stretching its year-to-date fall to about 3%.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against 16 other currencies, was up 0.1% at 83.15.
Against the Japanese yen, the dollar rose to Y106.56, compared with Y106.27 late Friday in New York. The yen continued to hover around a 15-month high against the dollar. Last week, the yen, considered a haven asset, rose 2.3% against the dollar, its best weekly performance since February 2017, according to FactSet data.
The Australian dollar is slightly lower against its US counterpart which has rebounded off three-year lows.
At 0635 AEDT on Tuesday, the Australian dollar was worth 79.12 US cents, down from 79.17 US cents on Monday.
British shares have lost some ground as weak results from Reckitt Benckiser underlined the murky growth outlook for big consumer goods makers and public holidays in the US and China slowed European markets.
The UK’s top share index the FTSE100 closed down 0.64 per cent at 7,247.66 points, a decline broadly in line with other European bourses.
Reckitt fell the most, down 7.5 per cent as the group missed 2017 profit estimates and tough trading conditions and rising commodity costs hit its outlook.
Another factor weighing on Reckitt’s shares was the heightened expectation of it buying the consumer health business being sold by Pfizer, which could dilute shareholders through an equity capital increase.
Also, the release of UK house price data focused analyst attention on one area of the British stock market which has been underperforming this year – housebuilders – with some saying the Rightmove House Price Index showed that house price growth was slowing.
European markets had opened positive, setting up the MSCI world index for its sixth day of gains but, by afternoon, the pan-European STOXX index had slipped over half a per cent.
Europe’s STOXX 600 ended the session near its day’s lows, with almost every sector, bar oil & gas, in negative territory.
Germany’s DAX closed 0.53 per cent lower at 12,385.60.
Most Asian markets were closed for the Lunar New Year, but Tokyo outperformed, gaining almost two per cent.
The Nikkei 225 rose 1.97 per to end its session at 22,149.21.
The NZX50 Index declined 0.1 per cent, to 8115.25.