President Trump’s threat to shut down the US government unless Congress agrees to fund the building of a wall on the Mexican border rattled investor nerves overnight. Despite falls in European and US shares, futures markets are pointing to an opening lift for the Australia 200 index. Higher oil prices are supportive, but results released so far this morning suggest the focus could shift to selling fairly quickly. An absence of macro data and calm currency markets indicate company profit results will once again dominate trading.

A number of CEO’s are on a walk of shame this morning. Stocks that could see selling pressure include Nine Entertainment, OZ Minerals and MYOB. On the other hand South 32, Perpetual and Estia Health may find additional support after good reports. Investa Office Fund continued the property sector trend of exceptionally higher profits on the back of revaluations.

More than three-quarters of Australia’s top 200 companies have now reported half or full year results. Growth in sales and earnings are in double digits. The problem could be elevated expectations. The average 25% lift in earnings is around 10% below forecast, and may be the harbinger of a share market slide to come.

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