Australian stocks are expected to open lower after US stocks fell amid uncertainty sparked by the sacking of Rex Tillerson as US secretary of state.
At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the Australian share price futures index was down 34 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 5,934.
The Australian share market on Tuesday closed lower amid weakness across most sectors, with the miners the biggest drag following falls in commodity prices and a negative lead from US markets.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 21.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 5,974.7 points, the broader All Ordinaries index was down 24.3 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,077.1 points.
In economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases lending finance figures for January, and Reserve Bank Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent speaks at the KangaNews DCM Summit, in Sydney.
Wall Street’s major indexes have fallen as uncertainty in Washington stemming from the dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dragged down stocks across sectors.
US President Donald Trump fired Tillerson after a series of public rifts over issues including North Korea and Russia. Steve Goldstein, a State Department undersecretary of state for public affairs, was also fired, soon after releasing a statement that Tillerson did not know why he was being pushed out.
Trump has tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo, seen as loyal to the president, to replace Tillerson.
The influx of political news overshadowed earlier positive economic news earlier. The markets had opened higher after data showed US consumer price growth slowed in February, an indication that an anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual.
Heading into the final hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 187.18 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 25,991.43, the S&P 500 lost 15.45 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 2,767.57 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 88.67 points, or 1.17 per cent, to 7,499.66.
Gold prices rose, boosted by a weaker dollar and lower Treasury yields after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose moderately in February and President Donald Trump said he would nominate Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
IRON ORE: $68.74 +0.45(April contract)
Oil prices fell, pressured by expectations for further gains in U.S. crude supply and production, with the Energy Information Administration set to provide updated figures on Wednesday.
Prices had gained earlier in the session as President Donald Trump’s ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was seen as a move that would jeopardize the Iran nuclear agreement.
The U.S. dollar sold off intraday, following consumer-price inflation data that was in line with expectations, dampening more-aggressive rate-hike forecasts, and after President Donald Trump said he would replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index fell 0.3% to 89.611. The WSJ U.S. Dollar Index, which is a measure of the buck against a broader basket of rivals, was off by 0.2% at 83.47.
The greenback gained against Japan’s yen, buying Y106.60, up from Y106.41 late Monday in New York.
The euro was up at $1.2404, not far off a level of $1.2337 late Monday. Meanwhile, the British pound rose to $1.3987, up from $1.3907 on Friday.
Against the Canadian dollar the dollar jumped to C$1.2924, up from C$1.2843 late Monday.
The Australian dollar is lower as US stocks fall following President Donald Trump’s sacking of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
At 0635 AEDT on Wednesday, the local currency was worth 78.53 US cents, down from 78.72 US cents on Tuesday.
Britain’s top share index succumbed to gains in the pound on Tuesday after US President Trump’s sacking of Rex Tillerson, while disappointing earnings updates weighed on mid caps.
The FTSE ended down 1.1 per cent at 7,138.78 points, while the mid cap index fell 1.3 per cent, while Germany’s Dax was down 1.59 per cent, and France’s CAC lost 0.64 per cent.
That boosted sterling to a two-week high, hitting the FTSE’s international earners, in particular big consumer staples.
Mid cap Greencore’s shares plunged after the food manufacturer cut its 2018 profit guidance due to issues at its US business.
Investec placed its forecasts and price target under review, noting that even though commercial developments gave the group confidence that the financial performance will improve through into 2019, this was later than management had expected.
Asian stocks edged up on Tuesday, but the gains were limited ahead of US inflation data later in the day which could offer clues on the pace of interest rate rises this year.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 per cent after spending much of the day swerving in and out of negative territory.
Japan’s Nikkei recouped earlier losses and rose 0.7 per cent, with gains in chip-related technology shares helping offset losses in steelmakers and automakers still weighed by concerns about US tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.
Shanghai dipped 0.49 per cent, while tech-heavy South Korean shares advanced 0.48 per cent and 0.85 per cent.
The S&P/NZX 50 index on Tuesday rose 0.11 per cent, to 8,473.14.