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Aust shares set to tumble 1% at open

Chris Hutchings

Australian stocks look set to open with a tumble of their own after Wall Street sinks - again.

The Australian share market is set to open almost one per cent lower after Wall Street again tumbles and after President Donald Trump announces tariffs on steel and imported aluminium.

At 0700 AEDT on Friday, the share price futures index was down 56 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 5,906.

After meeting with US industry officials, President Trump vowed to rebuild American steel and aluminium industries, saying they had been treaded unfairly by other countries for decades.

He said he would sign off on the tariffs - 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium - next week.

The move is likely to increase tensions with China, whose top trade official Lui He is in Washington for trade talks and raise fears of a global trade war..

It also will likely to hit Australian producers and exporters.

The announcement also hit Wall Street markets, driving shares in US steel producers down as much as 12 per cent higher and knocking two per cent or more off heavyweights like Boeing and Caterpillar, who investors worry will face higher raw material costs and trade barriers elsewhere.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.78 per cent, the S&P500 had fallen 1.15 per cent and the Nasdaq was 1.43 per cent lower close to the end of the trading day.

Locally, no major economic or equities news is expected on Friday,

The Australian market on Thursday fell for a second straight day as Wall Street tumbled and several influential stocks traded without the right to their latest dividends.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index shed 42.7 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 5,973.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 41.6 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,075.7 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is creeping back up, regaining some of the ground lost on Thursday as the US dollar continued to strengthen on expectations there could be more than three US interest rate rises this year.

The local currency was trading at 77.59 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Friday, from 77.25 on Thursday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.59 US cents, from 77.25 on Thursday

* 82.43 Japanese yen, from 82.54 yen

* 63.32 euro cents, from 63.38 euro cents

* 56.37 British pence, from 56.18 pence

* 106.93 NZ cents, from 107.29 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,316.158 per fine ounce, from $US1,312.81 per fine ounce on Thursday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9786pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6962pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.30 (implying a yield of 2.70pct), from 97.26 (implying a yield of 2.74pct) on Thursday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.945 (2.055pct), from 97.915 (2.085pct).

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