The ASX Today

The ASX is indicating it will open higher, but it's basing itself on a subdued session in the US where traders cautiously penciled back.

The ASX is indicating it will open higher, but it's basing itself on a subdued session in the US where traders cautiously penciled back.

ASX SPI 200 Futures traders have marked up the index by 13 points. However, it's the end of the quarter today which could send some traders a message to book profits. It's also a public holiday in Victoria (carn the Crows). Expect below average trading volumes in the session ahead.

The S&P 500 finished just three points higher at 2510 points, the Dow closed 0.18 per cent higher at 22,381 points, and the Nasdaq was flat at 6453 points. The best performing sector was healthcare across the board.

KEY POINTS

  • Expect some end-of-quarter profit-booking this session even if the ASX opens higher
  • Public holiday in Victoria — some money managers out of action
  • Oil slips further — pressure on energy names depending on trading volumes
  • Iron ore continues to fall ahead of week-long Chinese holiday
  • Gold gains against a weaker US dollar — potentially good news for under-pressure gold stocks
  • Private sector credit data and detailed household spending figures are released
  • Dividends paid today: CBA, AMP, Evolution Mining, Bendigo Adelaide Bank, among several other smaller companies 

The US dollar lost ground overnight as the positive effect of Trump's tax reform blueprint released on Wednesday seemed to wear off. This helped lift the gold price, with the precious metal recovering by almost $US1 to $US1288 an ounce this morning. 

The Australian dollar was relatively unchanged day-on-day at the end of US trade. It's buying US78.56c this morning, but it did fall to US77.99c at one stage during European trade. 

Oil prices remain in a state of flux, with Brent crude falling by 0.8 per cent to $US57.41 a barrel. CommSec said traders are watching the situation between Turkey and Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan has voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence and in response Turkey has vowed to close the oil pipeline in the region. 

Iron ore has continued its losing streak, falling by US10c overnight, or 0.2 per cent, to $US62.70 a tonne. However, futures inched higher in overnight trade, which suggests this could be the end of this losing streak. It's the last day before China breaks for a week-long holiday, so trade is likely to be more subdued.   

Despite all this, Chris Weston, an analyst at IG in Melbourne, said there's no clear read coming through from commodity markets. He thinks oil, bulk commodities and base metals aren't really giving us much to work with. 

And some hope from Richard Coppleson from Bell Potter Securities, if you're feeling down about the month that was: September is the second-worth month historically since 2000 for the ASX 200, and it's often a bad month in the US too. In the seven times the ASX 200 was down for the month of September (not including this year), the ASX 200 was down by 5.6 per cent. Insurance, telcos and energy stocks are among those that traditionally fare the worst. In the US, September weakness has often carried through until the middle of October — until a stock market rebound. 

Market Summary: 
IndexLast( /-)Change
Dow22,381.2040.490.18%
S&P 5002,510.063.020.12%
Nasdaq6,453.450.190.00%
FTSE 1007,322.829.310.13%
DAX12,704.6547.240.37%

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