Sunday, March 25, 2012

Australian share market outlook open down march 26 2012

Australian share market outlook open down march 26 2012 ; THE Australian share market is expected to open marginally weaker today in the absence of a strong US lead.

AMP Capital Investors head of investment strategy and chief economist Shane Oliver said on Friday night futures trading pointed to a 12 point, or 0.3 per cent, fall on the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index at open tomorrow.

While a modest rise on European and US markets on Friday was driven by gains in financial stocks and commodity stocks due to a high oil price, there was "not a lot of action on Wall Street", Mr Oliver said.

"Housing data out of the US was on the soft side, with home sales down, so it's a fairly weak lead in for our market," he said.

On Wall Street on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 34.59 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 13,080.73 points.
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The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 4.33 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1397.11 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 4.6 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3067.92 points.

Mr Oliver said most commodities prices had rebounded mildly on the London Metals Exchange on Friday after falling on Thursday, which should boost support for local resources stocks.

"We might see a bit of strength in some of the miners offset by weakness in other parts of the market," he said.

"The oil price was up 1.3 per cent and of course, that's a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it's good because commodity prices are up but on the other hand, it's bad because it slows global demand."

Oil prices rose following a report that Iranian oil exports had fallen substantially this month.

Copper, which is seen as the bellwether for industrial metals demand, was also up 1.1 per cent in London trade on Friday.

While the futures market pointed to a softer open on the Australian bourse today, it could manage a flat albeit subdued performance, given futures "hasn't been a great guide lately" Mr Oliver said.

The S&P/ASX 200 index had for some time been struggling below the 4300 point level.

"We've tried several times to get through the 4300 level on a sustainable basis but haven't been able to do so," Mr Oliver said.

"The Australian market won't break out until either we see some combination of a definitive (monetary) easing in China ... or monetary easing in Australia with the Reserve Bank cutting interest rates, or a much weaker Australian dollar.

"Otherwise, it will remain pretty subdued and struggle."

Mr Oliver said he expected China would undertake monetary easing and there were hopes that Australia's central bank would cut interest rates in May.

He said it would be another quiet week for Australian economic data.

February quarter job vacancies, due on Thursday, and private credit growth data on Friday were expected to be soft.

However, the Reserve Bank's Financial Stability Review on Wednesday should confirm that the Australian financial system remained in pretty good shape, Mr Oliver said.

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