Finance Finance News Australian dollar down as Wall Street slips

Australian dollar down as Wall Street slips

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The Australian dollar continued to lose ground against the greenback after it was knocked yesterday by weaker than expected inflation figures, buying 92.84 US cents at 8.05 am (AEST).

The Australian share market was set to open higher, with the SPI futures contract pointing to a gain of 0.4 per cent at the start of trade.

The Australian dollar fell against the New Zealand currency after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised interest rates for the second time in as many months – it was buying $NZ1.0773.

The local currency was also worth 67.21 euro cents and 55.34 British pence.

Spot gold prices edged up from a ten-week low to $US1,284.50 an ounce.

West Texas intermediate crude oil was fairly flat trading at $US101.74 a barrel.

Wall Street ended six days of gains as worries about the strength of the global economy overshadowed earnings season.

Reports showing weak home sales and a slowing Chinese manufacturing sector sparked the nerves.

Technology and social media companies dominated the news after the closing bell with Facebook and Apple’s quarterly revenue both beating analysts’ estimates.

The S&P 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,875.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 12 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,502.

The technology focused Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8 per cent to 4,127.

Netflix shares dropped 5.2 per cent after Amazon reached a deal to stream old episodes of HBO programs.

After the close of trade, Facebook released its first quarter earnings report and beat analysts’ estimates thanks to strong growth in its mobile advertising business.

Revenue in the quarter jumped 72 per cent to $US2.5 billion, more than expectations for $US2.36 billion.

Apple recorded a 5 per cent rise in first quarter revenue to almost $US46 billion.

The figure was better than expected and is a record for a non-holiday quarter.

Of the more than 139 companies that have reported results this season, Bloomberg data suggests 75 per cent have beaten analysts’ estimates and 50 per cent topped sales projections.

In economic news, sales of new US homes plunged 14.5 per cent in March to an eight-month low as buyers rejected record prices and higher mortgage rates.

China’s manufacturing sector has contracted for the 4th month in a row according to a preliminary survey from HSBC and Markit Economics.

Across the Atlantic, corporate deals kept London’s share market near a two-week high, but stocks trading without their dividends wiped some points off the index.

By the close the FTSE 100 index shed 7 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6,675.

On the continent Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 per cent and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index also lost 0.6 per cent.