[email protected]: ASX set to open steady as trade war jitters continue

The Australian sharemarket look set to open fairly flat after a small dip on Wall Street overnight as falling crude prices and trade jitters held markets in check.

In futures trading, the SPI200 futures contract was unchanged at 6,207 points at about 7:30am AEST, pointing to a steady open for the Australian stock market on Thursday. The Australian dollar is buying 74.36 US cents, slightly up from 74.23 US cents on Wednesday.

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Trade war jitters: Geopolitical ructions became the dominant theme late on Wall Street, setting up a day for Asian markets preoccupied with trade-war developments and rising diplomatic tensions in other geographies. The heightened global trade anxieties were piqued by news that China would be slapping retaliatory tariffs of 25 per cent on $US16 billion ($21.5 billion) worth of US imports, in response to the Trump administration’s move earlier in the week to implement comparable tariffs on Chinese imports. The trade concerns were further exacerbated by news that the US would increase sanctions on Russia for its involvement in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain. Both stories add to already tense diplomatic relations between the US and China, and the US and Russia: expect the news to also rattle Asian and European markets, which have proven far more vulnerable to geopolitical risks.

US indices: Wall Street has slipped in late trade during a day in which US indices traded relatively flat. The industrials-laden and therefore trade-war sensitive Dow Jones has given up the most ground, staring down a close of minus 0.2 per cent. The benchmark S&P500 was effectively flat, while the Nasdaq has held onto very modest gains, illustrating once-more that

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