Mixed signs from overseas for local market

THE sharemarket may open slightly higher today, despite weakness on European markets and a mixed performance on US markets.

THE sharemarket may open slightly higher today, despite weakness on European markets and a mixed performance on US markets.

European markets fell on Friday amid concerns about Greece's ability to cut its debt and disappointing figures on US economic growth.

In the US, markets were mixed after the government reported that the US economy grew at a slower rate at the end of last year than economists had expected. Economic growth for October through to December came in at an annual rate of 2.8 per cent, lower than the 3 per cent hoped for by economists.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index fell 74.17 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 12,660.5. The S&P 500 dipped 2.1 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 1316.33 but the Nasdaq index rose 11.27 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2816.55.

The CommSec chief economist, Craig James, said US markets had mixed results on Friday but prices for base metals and gold were up.

"It creates some conflicting signals for [the Australian] market," Mr James said.

He said many investors would be focused on the strengthening Australian dollar, which was now worth more than $US1.06. "That's going to put pressure on some of the globally dependent stocks," he said.

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