Daytrading Feb 12 pre-market

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    Morning traders. Thanks Trees and after-market regulars.

    Market wrap:

    Stocks look set for a cautiously positive open after US stocks closed mixed as the market sweated on the outcome of a meeting to discuss Greece's debt crisis.

    The March SPI 200 futures contract edged up 14 points or more than 0.2% to 5738, hinting at relief for investors following three days of losses on the local share market.

    US stocks were underwater for most of the session before recovering in the final hour as leaks emerged from a meeting of European finance ministers where Greece presented its case for a six-month bridging loan while it works on an alternative to its current bailout package, due to expire at the end of this month. The S&P 500 fell as low as 2,058 before closing unchanged at 2,069. The Dow lost seven points or 0.04%, while the Nasdaq put on 13 points or 0.28%.

    “It’s a tug of war between some of the macro things, like what’s going to happen with Greece, and decent corporate earnings results in the US,” John Fox, director of research at Fenimore Asset Management in the US, told Bloomberg. “Those are kind of offsetting one another. ‘‘The most likely event is that some type of compromise with Greece will be reached.’’

    A nervy session was dominated by news flashes and rumours emerging from Brussels, where Greece attempted to convince its European partners that it has a viable alternative to the existing bailout plan. Germany appeared to be the main obstacle to any compromise after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble declared that Greece must honour the existing deal.

    Earlier, European markets edged lower as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the Eurogroup decision. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.24% as Germany's DAX eased 0.02%, France's CAC 0.35% and Britain's FTSE 0.16%.

    Utilities and energy stocks were the biggest drags on the S&P 500. Utility stocks have fallen more than 5% since last week's unexpectedly strong US jobs data sparked a rally in government bond yields, dulling demand for other yield assets.

    The energy sector fell 0.7% after oil retreated for a second session as the latest weekly inventory report showed US stockpiles at their highest level at this time of year for 80 years. Read more here. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in March settled $1.18 or 2.4% lower at US$48.84 a barrel, but had lately partially recovered to US$49.30.

    Australian mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto closed mixed in US trade as iron ore held steady. BHP fell 0.85% while Rio gained 0.02%. Spot iron ore for import to China yesterday closed unchanged at US$62.20 a dry tonne.

    Tin slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low on the London Metal Exchange amid weak demand signals. Copper fell as much as 1.4% before reversing losses. In London, copper closed 0.09% ahead and zinc added 0.14%. Tin lost 3.02%, aluminium 0.76%, nickel 0.54% and lead 1.69%. US copper for March delivery was recently off 0.4% or more than a cent at US$2.54 a pound.

    US gold stocks declined as a rising greenback pushed gold to its lowest close in a month. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs index lost 1.97%. Gold for April delivery settled $12.60 or 1% lower at US$1,219.60 an ounce.

    The dollar was this morning buying 77.08 US cents, down more than three-quarters of a cent as the US dollar resumed its up-trend.

    TRADING THEMES TODAY

    DANCING TO GREECE'S TUNE: Wall Street ebbed and flowed all night with the latest speculation out of Brussels. There were bursts of both pessimism and optimism before the benchmark index ended dead flat. At time of writing, the press pack in Brussels was still waiting for news from the Eurogroup meeting, which means the outlook for the day may change significantly before trade commences here. A stay of execution for Greece would be a plus for the market, a definite no to their bridging loan demand would likely be a negative. Gold and energy stocks fell in the US, although the latter pared losses as the session went on. Back home, the 11.30am EST monthly employment report may change the market mood for better or worse.

    ECONOMIC NEWS: RBA Assistant Governor Guy Debelle is due to deliver a speech to a Sydney conference at 9am EST. The monthly inflation expectations report is scheduled for 11am, but today's main domestic event is the 11.30am January jobs report. Europe continues with an economic summit tonight, ensuring Greece will remain in the spotlight. A meaty schedule tonight in the US includes: retail sales/core retail sales, weekly benefit claims and business inventories.   

    Good luck to all.
 
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