Australian Stock Markets - Morning - 12/29/2011


US chain store sales posted firm growth in the latest week. The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales index rose by 4.3pct in the week to December 24 compared with a year earlier. For December as a whole, sales were up 3.5pct on a year ago.

US regional economic gauges eased in December. The Texas services sector outlook index eased from +7.4 to +6.7. And the Dallas Fed services index eased from +14 to +9.

Latest figures show that European banks prefer to deposit funds at the European Central Bank rather than lend to each other - a record 452 billion euros were deposited by banks at the ECB in the past week.

European shares eased in thin trade on Wednesday as investors took profit on recent gains. The FTSEurofirst index fell by 0.6pct - the index had gained 3.5pct in the week to the Christmas break. The UK FTSE fell by just 0.1pct and the German Dax lost 2.0pct. Shares in German car maker Daimler AG lost 3.9pct.

US shares fell in thin trade as investors booked profits on recent gains. Prior to Wednesday´s session, the Dow Jones was up 6.2pct for the year - the second best performance across global markets. At the close of trade, the Dow Jones was lower by 140 points or 1.1pct. The S&P 500 was down 1.3pct, and the Nasdaq was lower by 35 points or 1.3pct.

US treasuries rose on Wednesday (yields lower) as investors adjusted positions ahead of year end, moving funds from shares and commodities to treasuries. US 2yr yields fell 3pts to 0.27pct and US 10yr yields fell 9pts to 1.92pct.

The US dollar rose against major currencies as investors started to close positions in a range of markets ahead of year end. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.3080 to around US$1.2915 and was near US$1.2935 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar fell from highs around US102.00c to US100.70c, and was near US100.90c in late US trade. And the Japanese yen eased from 77.55 yen per US dollar to JPY78.00, and was near JPY77.90 in late US trade.

World crude oil prices fell for the first time in seven sessions on Wednesday as the US dollar rose against major currencies. A stronger greenback serves to make US dollar denominated commodity prices more expensive for buyers in Europe and Asia. Nymex crude oil fell by US$1.98 to US$99.36 a barrel and London Brent crude fell by US$1.71 to US$107.56 a barrel.

Base metal prices eased on the London Metals Exchange on Wednesday in line with other commodities as the US dollar rose. Metals fell up to 3.6pct with aluminium faring best, down just 0.8pct. The gold price fell for the fifth straight session with the Comex February gold price lower by US$31.40 or 2pct to a five month low of US$1,564.10 an ounce.

Ahead: In Australia, no economic data is released. In the US, weekly jobless claims data is released together with the Chicago purchasing managers index, Kansas City Fed manufacturing index and pending home sales index.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.