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Australian shares are set to open flat to lower a day after closing above 5000 points for the first time in almost three years, while world stocks were cautiously higher.

At 6am on the ASX24, the SPI futures contract was 5 points lower to 495. The Aussie dollar recovered some of its recent losses after strong consumer sentiment data yesterday saw investors trim bets of further cuts to official interest rates. In recent trade, the Aussie was buying $US1.035, roughly in line with yesterday’s close, but more than a full cent above Tuesday’s low of $US1.0228. It was also buying 96.77 yen, 76.94 euro cents and 66.56 pence.

Locally today, earnings season continues with ASX Ltd, Goodman Fielder, Mirvac and Wesfarmers reporting first half profits. Rio Tinto releases full-year results later tonight while David Jones today reports second quarter sales results.

Making news today

In economics news:Melbourne Institute consumer inflation expectation for February

In company news:The following companies report first-half results: ASX Ltd, Goodman Fielder, Mirvac Group, Whitehaven Coal, Wesfarmers, Forge Group, Perseus Mining, Paladin Energy, Mineral Resources, Adelaide Brighton, Aurizon HoldingGrainCorp Ltd full year update and guidance callRio Tinto full year resultsDavid Jones Q2 sales results

Analyst rating changes:Commonwealth Bank cut to underperform at CIMBOZ Minerals cut to sell at Deutsche BankDomino’s Pizza cut to neutral t JPMorganCarsales南京夜网.au cut to underperform at CIMBSkilled Group raised to buy at Moelis & CompanyCommonwealth Property cut to underweight at JPMorgan

Offshore overnight

United States

With about 2 hours left in trade, US stocks were fluctuating between gains and losses, after benchmark indexes rallied to five-year highs, as investors weighed economic reports and President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

Key numbers:Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.1% to 1520.67 Dow Jones Indus Avg lost 0.3% to 13,977.89 Nasdaq composite added 0.33% to 3197.06

Europe

European equities advanced while the yen has risen against the dollar amid uncertainty surrounding Tuesday’s Group of Seven (G7) statement on foreign exchange volatility.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 added 0.33% to 6359.11 In Frankfurt the DAX 30 added 0.67% to 7711.89 In Paris the CAC 40 added 0.32% to 3698.53

Asia

Most Asian markets closed higher, but Tokyo sank on profit-taking and a stronger yen.The Japanese currency picked up after a Group of Seven (G7) statement that said ‘‘excessive volatility’’ in exchange markets hurts financial stability, as they tried to calm talk of currency wars ahead of this week’s G20 meeting.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.04% to 11,251.41Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei were closed for public holidays

Commodities

Energy

World oil prices dipped in subdued trading after the United States reported a rise in its crude stockpiles. The US government’s Department of Energy said that the country’s crude inventories climbed by 600,000 barrels last week, confirming slack consumer demand. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March eased 11 cents to $118.55 a barrel in late London deals.New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for March, eased four cents to $US97.47 ($A95.09) a barrel.

Precious metals

Palladium futures settled at a 17-month high, while platinum marched higher, as traders continue to sift through reports of a potential supply disruption in Zimbabwe.Palladium for March delivery, the most active contract, on Wednesday rose 65 US cents, or 0.1 per cent, to settle at $US772.05 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the highest settlement price since September 2011.The most actively traded platinum contract, for April delivery, rose $US12.50, or 0.7 per cent, to settle at $US1,729.70 a troy ounce on the Nymex. This is the highest settlement price since February 6. Gold for April delivery fell $US4.50, or 0.3 per cent, to settle at $US1,645.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.  

Base metals

Base metals closed mixed on the London Metal Exchange (LME), struggling for direction amid a lack of clear market drivers.At the PM kerb close on Wednesday, LME three-month copper was down 0.1 per cent at $US8,225.50 a metric ton. Aluminum was up 1.1 per cent at $US2,142/ton.

How we fared yesterday

The ASX barrelled past the psychologically important 5000-point barrier on Wednesday to close at its highest level in more than 4½ years.

Buoyed by Commonwealth Bank’s strong half-year results, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 1 per cent higher to close at 5003.7.

BusinessDay with agencies

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.