$A falls amid Syria, North Korea concerns

(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market looks set to open slightly higher amid subdued trade in global markets ahead of the Easter holiday and brushing off concerns about military developments in Syria and North Korea.

At 0700 AEST on Wednesday the share price futures index was up 18 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,936.

The major US stock indexes barely budged Tuesday on another day of mostly light trading ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.

Technology stocks declined the most, while real estate companies notched the biggest gains.

Oil prices recovered after an early slide. Bond yields fell and the price of gold rose as investors kept an eye on rising geopolitical tensions.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 per cent, while France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.1 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.2 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index slipped 0.3 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 0.7 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 per cent.

In local economic news on Wednesday, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Monthly Consumer Confidence Index and official lending finance figures are due out.

The share market remained at a two-year high on Tuesday after a third straight day of gains, thanks to strong demand for financial and energy companies.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 gained 16.4 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 5,929.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 15.7 points, 0.26 per cent, to 5,964.6 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is a touch lower and bonds have rallied as global concerns rise over the conflict in Syria and tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The local currency was trading at 74.99 US cents at 0700 AEST on Wednesday, from 75.03 on Tuesday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.99 US cents, from 75.03 on Tuesday

* 82.19 Japanese yen, from 82.93 yen

* 70.71 euro cents, from 70.85 euro cents

* 60.03 British pence, from 60.43 pence

* 107.75 New Zealand cents, from 107.97 NZ cents


* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.654pct, down from 1.655pct on Tuesday

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.491pct, down from 2.492pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.475 (implying a yield of 2.525pct), up sharply from 97.440 (2.560pct) on Tuesday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.210 (1.790pct), up from 98.190 (1.810pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)

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