Stocks set for soft start amid earnings

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Australian shares are set to open flat to lower on weak offshore leads as investors take in another busy day of local earnings reports.

On the ASX24 shortly after 6am, the SPI futures contract was 4 points lower to 5038. The Aussie dollar was trading flat against the greenback, buying $US1.0296, slightly ahead of yesterday’s close. It was also buying 96.77 yen, 77.11 euro cents and 66.60 pence.

Companies reporting earnings today include Coca-Cola Amatil, Arrium, Southern Cross Austereo and Asciano.

Making news today

In economics news:RBA minutes from the February policy meeting at which interest rates were left on hold

In company news:The following companies report first half results: Arrium, Southern Cross Austereo, Sonic Healthcare, Monadelphous Group, Macmahon Holdings, Asciano, Australian Infrastructure Fund, Mcmillan Shakespeare Coca-Cola Amatil full year resultsInvoCare full year results

Analyst rating changes:Macquarie Atlas cut to hold at Deutsche BankPacific Brands cut to reduce at NomuraGPT cut to underperform at Credit SuisseIluka Resources raised to sector perform at RBC Capital

Offshore overnight

United States

Wall Street was closed for the President’s Day public holiday.

London

Europe’s main stock markets mostly fell after a weekend meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies ended with Japan being spared an accusation of unfairly devaluing its currency.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.16% to 6318.19 Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added 0.46% to 7628.73 In Paris the CAC 40 added 0.18% to 3667.04

Asian

Asian markets were mixed, with Tokyo surging thanks to a weakening yen after a weekend G20 meeting ended without accusing Japan of orchestrating a recent slide in its currency.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei added 2.09% to 11,407.87 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.27% to 23,381.94 China’s Shanghai composite lost 0.455 to 2421.56

How we fared yesterday

The Australian share market closed higher, led by the major banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lifted 29.5 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 5,063.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had added 28.3 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 5,082.9 points.

BusinessDay with agencies

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