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Global Market Report - 19 February

Lex Hall  |  19 Feb 2019Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Australia

Australian shares are expected to open flat after finishing slightly higher on the previous day.

The SPI200 futures contract was up just 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,054.0 at 7am Sydney time, suggesting a slow start for the benchmark S&P/ASX200 on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the ASX finished higher amid optimism for a deal on the US-China trade war and a spike in the price of oil. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 23.7 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 6,089.8 points at 4.15pm on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 22.1 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6,170.7.

There was no trading on Wall Street overnight because of a US holiday.

The Aussie dollar tumbled overnight and is buying 71.31 US cents at 7am Sydney time from 71.50 US cents on Monday.

Chinese traders are halting purchases of Australian coal and coking coal as clearing times through China's customs have at least doubled to 40 days or more, four traders at major buyers say. The traders told Reuters on Monday only cargoes from Australia, the biggest supplier of the fuel to the world's top consumer, were affected.

Supermarket giant Coles Group has reported a net profit of $738 million in its maiden result - 14 per cent below year-ago levels.

IOOF Holdings has posted a three-fold rise in its half-yearly profit on the sale of the company’s corporate trust business.

Minutes from the RBA's February board meeting will be released today.

ASIA

Asian markets closed sharply higher today with shares in China leading the region.
Shanghai blue chips surged 2.7 per cent to their highest finish in more than six months.

Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 1.82 per cent its highest since December 18.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 1.60 per cent.

Trade negotiations between the US and China will resume this week, with US President Donald Trump saying he may extend a 1 March deadline for a deal.

In Tokyo, industrial machinery maker Komatsu added 3.1 per cent, robot maker Fanuc rose 2.9 per cent and Hitachi Construction Machinery jumped 4.6 per cent.

EUROPE

The mood is more subdued in Europe, where markets finished mixed.

The CAC 40 gained 0.30 per cent, while London's FTSE 100 was off 0.24 per cent. Shares in Germany were unchanged with the DAX at 11,299.20.

A pan-European equity index inched to new four-month high but gains were capped by the auto sector, which was hit by data showing Chinese car sales fell 16 per cent in January, their seventh straight month of decline.

The autos index, a bellwether for Europe's economy, fell 0.9 per cent, also pressured by fears that a US Commerce Department report to President Trump could unleash steep tariffs on imported cars and auto parts. Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations.

NORTH AMERICA

US markets were closed for the Presidents' Day holiday.

Meanwhile, hopes for progress in Sino-US trade talks and expectations of policy stimulus from central banks lifted world stocks to 2 1/2- month highs on Monday, though European gains were held back by concern over the outlook for carmakers.

Wall Street futures suggested that US stocks would maintain last week’s gains when trading starts again on Tuesday, after Monday’s holiday.

The Dow and the Nasdaq had boasted eight straight weeks of gains on wagers the US and China can resolve their protracted trade dispute.

Negotiations will resume this week, with Trump saying he may extend a 1 March deadline for a deal. Both sides reported progress at last week's talks in Beijing.

is content editor for Morningstar Australia

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