ASX poised to edge lower on weak US jobs report

Stock Markets

Australian shares are poised to edge lower today on a weaker than expected US jobs report released on Friday. US employment growth in February came at a shock to investors with the economy only creating 20,000 jobs, falling well short of the forecast of 180,000 added jobs. The figures indicated a sharp slowdown in economic activity in the first quarter and acted to reinforce investor fears of global economic slowdown.

Wall Street's main indexes closed lower on Friday as the weak US jobs report sparked concerns about the global economy. The indexes posted their biggest weekly declines since the market tumbled in late 2018, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ 100 losing 22.99 (-0.09%), 5.86 (-0.21%) and 13.32 (-0.18%) points respectively.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 60.1 (-0.96%) points on Friday, following losses on the US and European markets after the European Central Bank downgraded its 2019 growth and inflation forecasts.

Trade volume and growth in Australian shares are expected to be softer today due to the public holiday in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. ASX 200 futures are currently down 14.0 points. 

Today's data releases: Euro zone industrial production January, US retail sales January, Business inventories December.

Commodities and Currencies

Brent and WTI crude closed lower at US$65.66 (-0.12%) and US$56.01 (-0.11%) respectively.

Iron ore prices are down 2.1% to US$85.77 per tonne.

The spot price of gold is currently marginally down 0.06% at US$1297.67.

The AUD is currently marginally down 0.06% at US70.41¢. Despite the US dollar weakening against all other currencies, the Australian dollar remained relatively firm.  

This article was written by William O'Loughlin – Investment Analyst, Rivkin Securities Pty Ltd. Enquiries can be made via info@rivkin.com.au or by phoning +612 8302 3633.