China, US give local bourse flat start

The sharemarket is set to open flat to lower after soft performances in US and European markets at the end of last week.

The sharemarket is set to open flat to lower after soft performances in US and European markets at the end of last week.

Despite relatively strong performances on Wall Street, softer than expected gross domestic product figures for the March quarter pushed down US shares on Friday.

The US Department of Commerce reported March quarter growth of 2.5 per cent, more than the previous quarter but less than the 2.8 per cent analysts expected.

The broad-based S&P500 eased by 2.92 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 1582.24; the technology-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell by 10.72 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 3279.26 points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11.75 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 14,712.55.

Amazon's shares posted their biggest one-day loss in more than a year, losing 7.2 per cent to $US254.81 over concerns about the online retailer's ability to continue to grow, despite matching expectations of a 22 per cent increase in revenue to $US16.1 billion.

For the week, the S&P500 rose by 1.7 per cent, the Dow Jones gained 1.1 per cent and the Nasdaq added 2.3 per cent.

"As a result of the soft global lead and falls in several commodity prices, including copper, ASX200 futures fell three points, suggesting a flat to marginally down start to trading for the Australian sharemarket on Monday morning," AMP Capital head of investment strategy Shane Oliver said.

The ASX SPI 200 Futures June 13 Index is down by 3 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 5104.

In a move that could hurt mining stocks this week, the China Iron and Steel Association has said that Chinese production may not increase by as much as expected.

The Australian dollar slipped from $US1.0319 to $US1.028 in US trading on Friday.

The focus on the company front this week will be on earnings reports by some of the big four banks.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank releases financial aggregates for March. On Wednesday, the RBA's index of commodity prices for April is released, and the Housing Industry Association publishes data on new home sales for March.

On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes building approvals for March.

In the US, the focus will be on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting on Wednesday.

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