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Storm Clouds Gathering

Weaker commodity prices, a deteriorating technical picture and falls in European and US stocks overnight could bring a second day of regional underperformance for Australian investors. Yesterday’s higher volumes could see selling return today, although the impending release of non-farm payroll data tomorrow night may stay some investor hands.

A strengthening USD continues to knock commodity prices lower. Oil bears were helped by a greater than expected build in US crude oil inventories. BHP ADRs shed 4% overnight, and gold hovered just above $1300. Pressure on the Materials and Energy sectors may see the Australia 200 Index shed more than the current futures estimate of 19 points.

The Australian reporting season is over for this half year. Although results are slightly better than expected, lower sales and profits are likely to weigh on investor action. After trading an unusually narrow band for the previous three weeks, chartists note the index has broken down through support on elevated trading volumes. Many will interpret this as a sign that the near term outlook for the market is further falls.

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