Australian shares are expected to trade flat, or slightly lower, following a drop in United States, European and Asian markets.
Market snapshot at 7:45am (AEST):ASX SPI futures flat at 6,552, ASX 200 (Wednesday’s close) flat at 6,544AUD: 69.31 US cents, 54.6 British pence, 61.38 euro cents, 75.18 Japanese yen, $NZ1.05US: Dow Jones -0.2pc at 26,005, S&P 500 -0.2pc at 2,880, Nasdaq -0.4pc at 7,793Europe: FTSE 100 -0.4pc at 7,368, DAX -0.3pc at 12,116, CAC -0.6pc at 5,375, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4pc at 3,387Commodities: Brent crude -4pc at $US59.77/barrel, spot gold +0.5pc at $US1,333.16/ounce, iron ore flat at $US106.60/tonne
At 7:10am (AEST), ASX futures were largely unchanged, up four points.
The Australian dollar fell by a moderate 0.5 per cent to 69.27 US cents.
In local economic news, the Bureau of Statistics will release its May labour force report at 11:30am (AEST).
Reuters-polled economists are predicting that the unemployment rate will drift lower to 5.1 per cent, and 16,000 new jobs to have been created.
However, the anticipated fall in the jobless rate may be temporary as the job figures coincide with last month’s federal election, which created a large number of temporary roles.
“NAB is forecasting a strong report given the employment boost from temporary workers hired to run the federal election,” NAB head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill said.
“We expect employment grew by 40,000 [jobs].”
But Mr Attrill said that if the unemployment rate stays at 5.2 per cent, or rises, there is a higher chance the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates in July — instead of August, like many analysts are predicting.
Oil prices drag down US markets
On Wall Street, stocks have fallen for a second day as last week’s rally continues to falter.
The Dow Jones index has closed