Local stocks are poised to open flat as Wall Street edged higher in a narrow range on mixed data.
What you need2know:
• SPI futures up 5 points to 5450
• AUD at 92.77 US cents, 95.30 Japanese yen, 68.22 Euro cents and 55.43 British pence
• On Wall St, S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.4%
• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%, FTSE -0.3%, CAC -0.1%, DAX +0.1%
• Spot gold down 0.1% to $US1243.45 an ounce
• Brent oil slips 0.5% to $US108.33 per barrel
• Iron ore jumps 2.2% to $US94.60 per metric tonne
• LME three-month copper is at $US6785 per tonne
What’s on today
Australia: trade balance;
China HSBC PMI services, HSBC PMI composite;
EU retail sales, ECB policy announcement; Germany factory orders; UK Bank of England bank rates;
Canada building permits.
Stocks to watch
Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert is expected to walk away from a bidding war for Australand Property Group with a tidy profit on his investment after a rival Asian bidder sprung a $2.6 billion offer.
CIMB analyst Mark Williams has cut his recommendation on Qantas Airways to “hold,” noting “the improvement is now priced in . . . with the share price now trading at our price target ($1.39).”
Commonwealth Bank cut Premier Investments from “overweight” to “underweight” and dropped its price target to $8.40 a share, from $9.60.
The US dollar index, composed of six major currency pairs, was last up 0.14 per cent at 80.668 after peaking at 80.677.
After trading very near $1.40 within the past month, the euro has been talked down by ECB officials widely expected to agree on further stimulative measures on Thursday.
Banks are sticking with forecasts for a weaker yen, even as they see less chance of extra Bank of Japan stimulus, citing a weakening relationship between the currency and bond yields. JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Credit Agricole have pushed back expectations for additional easing, as a government report showed last week inflation in Japan quickened to a 23-year high in April.
Copper dropped to a three-week low, in its biggest one-day fall since mid- April, on jitters about the impact on financing deals from a probe at a Chinese port.
Foreign copper miners in Indonesia have agreed in principle to pay a controversial export tax, the country's deputy finance minister said, following a series of talks aimed at restarting concentrate exports after a near-five-month halt.
The Institute for Supply Management said its services sector index rose to 56.3 last month as new orders and business activity jumped. It was the highest reading in nine months and was up from 55.2 in April.
Private employers added 179,000 jobs to their payrolls in May, the ADP National Employment Report showed, below economists’ expectations for a gain of 210,000 jobs in May. It was released ahead of the government’s comprehensive employment report on Friday.
European shares inched down on Wednesday after data confirmed a slowdown in the euro zone’s economic recovery in the first quarter, with investors awaiting fresh action by the European Central Bank to spur growth.
The 18-nation bloc’s economy expanded by just 0.2 per cent in the three months to March, statistics office Eurostat said, cementing investor expectations for the ECB to trim its refinancing rate, send its deposit rate into negative territory and launch a cheap-lending initiative targeted at businesses.
What happened yesterday
Discretionary consumer goods and services were the worst-performing sector, down 1.3 per cent as a monthly Australian Industry Group survey indicated retail spending declined following the federal budget in May.
A decision by the Fair Work Commission to lift the minimum wage by $18.70 a week to $640.90 was also negative for consumer stocks.