Australia Markets closed

Aust shares look set to open sharply lower

Chris Hutchings
AAP

The Australian share market looks set to follow the global trend and open sharply lower.

At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price futures index was down 24 points, or 0.40 per cent, at 6,012.

The world's key markets - bar Tokyo's Nikkei - were a sea of red on Tuesday and that negative sentiment was exacerbated on Wall Street when Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said, a strengthening economy and inflation boosted bets the central bank would squeeze in a fourth rate hike this year.

Powell, in his prepared remarks, had hinted that the central bank would stick to its current path of gradual rate hikes, but his comments during a congressional testimony that recent data increased his confidence in rising inflation spooked the market.

By late afternoon , the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.82 per cent, the S&P 500 had lost 0.90 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 1.08 per cent.

Locally, in economic news on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia is due to release financial aggregates figures.

In equities news, Harvey Norman, Noni B, Bega Cheese, Virgin Australia, Retail Food Group, Ramsay Health Care, Bubs Australia and Adelaide Brighton are expected to release earnings report..

The Australian market on Tuesday rose for a fifth straight session as positive offshore leads contributed to gains for miners and banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 14.7 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 6,056.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 13.2 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 6,159.3 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has fallen against its US counterpart and is back below 78 US cents.

The local currency was trading at 77.96 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, from 78.48 on Tuesday.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.96 US cents, from 78.48 on Tuesday

* 83.73 Japanese yen, from 83.87 yen

* 63.71 euro cents, from 63.67 euro cents

* 56.02 British pence, from 56.20 pence

* 107.71 NZ cents, from 107.71 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,317.85 per fine ounce, from $US1,333.07 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9517pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6983pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.517 (implying a yield of 2.483pct), from 97.255 (implying a yield of 2.745pct) on Tuesday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.905 (2.095pct), from 97.935 (2.065pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)