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Australian shares set to open lower

The Australian share market looks set to open lower, following its previous session's fall and mimicking Wall Street, where the Dow was dragged into the red.

At 0700 AEST on Wednesday, the share price futures index was down 8 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 5,623 points.

In the US, major stock indexes were mixed as Netflix's rally kept the Nasdaq Composite in the black while Goldman Sachs weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with earnings taking investors' focus.

The Dow fell 0.27 per cent on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 was marginally up 0.01 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.39 per cent.

Despite a muted reaction from stocks, news of the healthcare bill's collapse sent the US dollar to a 10-month low against a basket of major currencies.

The falling greenback plus unexpected commentary from the Reserve Bank of Australia, indicating a potentially more open mind to rate hikes, combined to push the Aussie dollar to its highest level in more than two years.

The local currency surpassed 79 US cents for the first time since May, 2015 and was trading at 79.16 US cents at 1700 AEST on Tuesday, having retreated from a session high of 79.24 US cents.

The spike however, hit export oriented companies and sent the local share market sharply lower.

The financial sector led broad-based losses and combined with weakness in the materials and energy sectors, dragged the benchmark S&P/ASX200 down 1.2 per cent to 5,687.4 points.

At 0700 AEST on Wednesday, the local currency continued to rise strongly and was worth 79.18 US cents, up from 79.15 US cents on Tuesday.



AUD/USD 0.7918 0.012 0.7798

AUD/JPY 88.71 0.89 87.82

AUD/EUR 0.6854 0.0061 0.6793

AUD/NZD 1.0761 0.0112 1.0649

AUD/GBP 0.6071 0.0098 0.5973


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEST was $US1,242.10 per fine ounce, from $US1,237.30 per fine ounce on Tuesday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9671pct unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6923 from 2.6756pct on Tuesday

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.285 (implying a yield of 2.715pct) from 97.255 (2.745pct) on Tuesday

* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.96 (2.04pct) from 97.94 (2.06pct) on Tuesday

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)