Australia Markets close in 3 hrs 12 mins

Aust shares look set to open lower

Chris Hutchings
AAP

The Australian share market looks set to open lower after a report saying that China may halt or slow its purchase of US Treasuries sent Wall Street falling.

At 0700 AEDT on Thursday, the share price futures index was down 18 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 6,028.

In the US and Europe, key indexes lost ground following the Bloomberg report, citing sources, on China's possible plan.

But, higher US government bond yields drove gains for banks and other financial stocks, which helped Britain's FTSE100 lift to a record close, and helped negate some of the impact on Wall Street.

In late afternoon trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.13 per cent, at 25,352.72, the S&P 500 was down 0.20 per cent, at 2,745.82 and the Nasdaq Composite was down or 0.27 per cent, at 7,144.11.

Locally, in economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases retail trade figures for November.

No major equities news is expected.

The Australian market on Wednesday lost ground as investors pulled back following five straight sessions of gains.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 39.1 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 6,096.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 35.6 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 6,205.9 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has rebounded, as the greenback has weakened on the China bond purchases report.

The local currency was trading at 78.32 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Thursday, from 78.14 on Wednesday.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.32 US cents, from 78.14 on Wednesday

* 87.25 Japanese yen, from 87.50 yen

* 65.53 euro cents, from 65.51 euro cents

* 57.97 British pence, from 57.80 pence

* 108.98 NZ cents, from 109.10 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,317.446 per fine ounce, from $US1,309.78 per fine ounce on Wednesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0114pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6683pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.255 (implying a yield of 2.745pct), from 97.280 (implying a yield of 2.720pct) on Wednesday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.845 (2.155pct), from 97.850 (2.150pct).

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