need2know: Oil set to drag ASX lower

Local shares are poised to fall at the open, dragged down by Wall Street as US oil fell below the $US30 mark. Both BHP and Rio fell overnight in London as base metals reversed direction to end mostly lower.

What you need2know

US inventories are forecast to have added 4.8 million barrels to record supplies last week.
US inventories are forecast to have added 4.8 million barrels to record supplies last week. Photo: Bloomberg

SPI futures down 70pts or 1.4% to 4872

AUD at US70.46¢,84.57 Japanese yen, 64.56 Euro cents and 48.90 British pence

On Wall St, late, S&P 500 -1.8%, Dow -1.9%, Nasdaq -2.4%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 -2.3%, FTSE -2.3%, CAC -2.5%, DAX -1.8%

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In London, BP -8.7%, Anglo -7.99%, BHP -6.7%, Rio -4.6%

Spot gold -0.1% to $US1127.61 at 2.56pm New York time

Brent crude -4.2% to $US32.79 at 2.30pm New York time

US oil -5.3% to $US29.92 at 2.30pm New York time

Iron ore adds 1.9% to $US43.84 per tonne

What's on today

New Zealand 4th Qtr jobless rate, Markit euro-zone services PMI January, Markit UK services PMI January, Markit US services PMI January, US ADP employment data. BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks in Kyodo. Earnings: Merck, Comcast, Apollo Global, GM, Mondelez Intl, Yum! Brands, Lundin Petroleum, ABB, Syngenta, GlaxoSmithKline

Stocks in focus

Global miners drop in wake of BHP downgrade. In London overnight, Anglo American fell 7.99 per cent in London, BHP shed 6.7 per cent, Glencore lost 5.5 per cent and Rio Tinto tumbled 4.6 per cent.

Currencies

The euro advanced against all major peers, posting the biggest gains versus the currencies of raw-material producing nations including South Africa's rand and the New Zealand and Australian dollars. Europe's shared currency climbed 0.3 per cent to $US1.0925, while the yen appreciated 0.2 per cent to 120.72 per US dollar.

The pound declined after European Union President Donald Tusk published a draft agreement on Tuesday aimed at satisfying UK Prime Minister David Cameron's demands for changes to the EU and paving the way for a referendum on Britain's membership in the bloc as early as June. It was 0.3 per cent weaker at $US1.4388 after earlier sliding as much as 0.7 per cent.

Commodities

Oil dropped for a second day before US government data that is forecast to show US crude stockpiles expanded, exacerbating a global glut. 

"February, March and April will be very tough for the oil market," said Scott Roberts, portfolio manager and co-head of high yield who manages $US2.7 billion at Invesco Advisers in Atlanta. "Oil supplies are so high that it's reasonable to expect a retest of the recent lows during the next few months."

US inventories are forecast to have added 4.8 million barrels to record supplies last week. The American Petroleum Institute (API) will release its data at 4.30pm New York time, ahead of the government's report on Wednesday.

United States

The Dow average tumbled as Exxon Mobil fell after reporting its biggest earnings slide in more than a decade, while Goldman Sachs Group headed for its biggest rout since 2012

"Rallies right now are short, sharp and don't last very long," Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC, said by phone. "A lot of last week's rally was a technical, one-time thing."

US technology companies dominate rankings of the world's largest companies as never before. Lifted by a 10 per cent jump since the start of the year, Facebook just leapfrogged Exxon Mobil and Berkshire Hathaway to become fourth-most valuable company, with a market capitalisation of $US330 billion. The social network joins Google's parent Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft atop the rankings.

Europe

BP was among the biggest losers in Europe after its quarterly earnings slumped 91 per cent. BP said it will cut 7000 jobs or 9 per cent of its workforce. The company lost $US6.5 billion in 2015 and its fourth-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, which is the company's definition of net income, came in at $US196 million, well below analyst expectations of $US730 million.

Some 90 companies report results this week, with analysts estimating profit at Stoxx 600 firms grew 0.7 per cent last year, and will increase 3.9 per cent in 2016.

Syngenta added 3.7 per cent after people familiar with the matter said China National Chemical is nearing an agreement to buy the Swiss pesticide maker.

Euro-area unemployment decreased to a four-year low in December, an unexpected bit of good news. The region's jobless rate declined to 10.4 per cent from 10.5 per cent in November.

What happened yesterday

Australian shares finished lower, led down by energy stocks, as the oil price slid again and the Reserve Bank of Australia offered little extra hope of another cut to the cash rate. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 1 per cent to 4993.3 while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 1 per cent to 5043.9.