The Courier-Mail

Flat start for market predicted

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AFTER last week’s battering, the local sharemarke­t looks set for a flat start despite US and European markets ending lower.

The dip in overseas stocks followed a solid US jobs report that raised expectatio­ns of a US interest rate rise soon and disappoint­ing data out of the eurozone.

But CommSec chief economist Craig James believes there will be minimal impact on today’s local open.

“The actual futures expectatio­n for our market suggests that we will only be down 2 points,” Mr James said. “It suggests a flat start.”

It comes after a big dip in banking stocks helped drive the overall ASX 200 down 2.4 per cent on Friday. The big banks fell heavily — ANZ worst at 7.5 per cent — but regional lenders fared better, including Bank of Queensland down 1.1 per cent at $13.56 and Suncorp 0.9 per cent at $14.28.

The oil price was weaker on Friday, along with base metal prices. However gold edged higher, finishing the week up by $US3.90 an ounce.

The Australian dollar rallied on expectatio­ns the Reserve Bank was less likely to cut the cash rate again any time soon, trading yesterday at US74.16¢.

Mr James expected it to hover between US73¢ to US74¢ this week.

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