Negative offshore lead may weigh on Asian stocks; Australia’s Woolworths to report quarterly sales numbers

<p>Asian stocks are expected to open slightly lower on negative offshore leads. Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat while the S&P500 shed 0.25%. […]</p>

Asian stocks are expected to open slightly lower on negative offshore leads. Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat while the S&P500 shed 0.25%.

European markets were lower by a larger amount and Greece remains the key talking point among traders.

A deal looks very likely but the market is nervous on timing as the European Union plans to convene in its first summit this week.

Currency markets are perhaps the best gauge with the euro still above 1.31 against the US dollar – an indicator that the recent rally isn’t about to rally over just yet and a Greek deal is close to reality.

In other currencies, the Australian dollar remains below 1.06 against the US dollar ahead of next week’s interest rate decision. Market estimates are for a 25 basis point cut but the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) could also sit on its hands for one more month to evaluate recent cuts.

The largest Australian retailer – Woolworths – will report its second quarter sales numbers today which will indicate the health of Australian spending and the effectiveness of interest rate cuts going into the Christmas trading period.

In commodity markets, copper took a hit overnight to last settle at around US$3.82/lb. It’s still at very high levels compared with its lows late last year but could now trend back towards US$3.60-3.65/lb where there is strong support.

Copper will trade on Chinese sentiment as the PBOC contemplates what monetary measures to implement in the new year.

Gold meanwhile remains steady, last at US$1729/oz, silver at US$33.45/oz.

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