Mixed leads signal flat start for stocks
July 20 (AAP) The Australian stock market has received a mixed lead from offshore markets.
Wall Street closed higher and futures contract prices for copper and oil firmed, but gold and silver prices eased.
This morning on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index contract was 3 points lower at 4325 points, with 3176 contracts traded.
What you need to know:
· The SPI was down 3 points at 4325
· The Australian dollar was buying 86.85 US cents
· In the US, the S&P500 rose 6.37 points to 1071.25
· In Europe, the FTSE 100 fell 10.57 points to 5148.28
· Gold fell $US6.30 an ounce to $US1181.90
· Oil was up 53 US cents a barrel to $US76.54
· The Reuters Jefferies CRB index fell 0.39%
· Stocks to watch: possible market movers
In the news this morning
Directors of the nation's second-largest private hospital operator, Healthscope, have negotiated the biggest private-equity takeover in years.
A top ASIC official says oversight of the housing market by the securities regulator is 'the next logical step'.
How we fared yesterday
In Australia, the share market closed sharply lower following a steep fall on United States markets over the weekend.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended down 64.4 points, or 1.46 per cent, at 4358.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index finished 64.3 points, or 1.45 per cent, lower at 4372.7 points.
US stocks ended a choppy day with a moderate rebound on Monday, as investors started to feel more optimistic about companies' earnings, although IBM missed the mark, revealing numbers that forced its stock lower in after-hours trade.
Market players shook off a disappointing reading on homebuilders' confidence, and focused instead on the flood of earnings reports that will come in over the next few weeks. Many companies are expected to report strong results.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56.53, or 0.56 per cent, at 10,154.43 points.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up 6.37 points, or 0.60 per cent, at 1071.25 points.
The Nasdaq composite index, closed up 19.18 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 2198.23 points.
European stock markets lost ground on Monday after weaker-than-expected US housing data snuffed out an early rally.
Sentiment was also negatively affected after Moody's said it had downgraded Irish debt by one notch to Aa2, citing weak growth prospects and the huge cost of rescuing banks.
The FTSE 100 index closed down 10.57 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 5148.28 points.
The German DAX 30 closed down 31.16 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 6009.11 points and in Paris, the CAC 40 closed down 13.83 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 3486.33 points.
Oil prices rose on Monday as investors kept an eye on potential tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean and improving stock markets.
August gold fell $US6.30 to settle at $US1181.90 per fine ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
September silver fell 24.5 US cents to settle at $US17.543 per ounce.
Copper for September delivery settled 0.85 US cents higher at $US2.9380 per pound.
AAP, with BusinessDay
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
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