Daytrading Feb 17 pre-market

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    Morning traders. Thanks Trees and after-market regulars.

    Market wrap:

    The share market faces potential headwinds ahead of a slew of earnings and a Reserve Bank policy update after Greek debt talks ended without a resolution, driving US and European equity futures lower.

    With regular trade on Wall Street suspended overnight for the President's Day public holiday, trading on Australia's March SPI 200 futures ended at midnight EST with the contract 11 points or 0.2% higher at 5833. However, European and US futures slumped in the last few hours as this morning's meeting of European finance ministers broke up early with Greece and its lenders seemingly as far apart as ever. Euro Stoxx 50 index futures were lately off 1.48% and Dow futures 39 points or 0.22%

    Bailout talks in Brussels ended prematurely after Greece refused to sign a statement seeking a six-month extension to its existing funding package, which runs out at the end of this month. A Greek government spokesman said the Eurogroup's insistence that the new government honour the deal signed by its predecessors was “absurd” and “unacceptable”. The new government is seeking to water down the terms of the current bailout deal after being elected on a mandate to "end austerity".

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the Greeks were unwilling to soften their demands and were "acting irresponsibly":  "The problem is that Greece has lived beyond its means for a long time and that nobody wants to give Greece money any more without guarantees." Read more here.

    Earlier, European shares drifted lower ahead of the meeting amid concern that weekend negotiations on Greece had failed to make headway. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed 0.14% lower as Germany's DAX slipped 0.37%, France's CAC 0.15% and Britain's FTSE 0.24%. Greece's Athex Composite dropped 3.83%.

    BHP and Rio Tinto were among the better performers in the UK after iron ore rose for a fourth session in China. BHP rallied 1.28% and Rio Tinto 0.38% in UK trade. Spot iron ore for import to China yesterday improved $1.80 to US$65.10 a dry tonne.

    Gold ticked higher in electronic trade as the failure of the Greek debt talks encouraged haven buying, but gains were capped by a surge in the US dollar as traders dumped the euro. Gold for April delivery was lately ahead $3.70 or 0.3% at US$1,230.80 an ounce.

    Copper edged higher in subdued trade on the London Metal Exchange with Chinese buyers absent for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. In London, copper added 0.1% and zinc 0.2%. Aluminium retreated 0.6%, lead 0.8%, nickel 0.2% and tin 0.8%.

    Oil gave up a fraction of its recent gains as risk appetite deteriorated. Brent crude oil for April delivery was recently down 18 cents or 0.3% at US$61.34.

    The dollar was this morning buying 77.75 US cents.

    TRADING THEMES TODAY

    EARNINGS, RBA: Aside from the rebound in iron ore, the overnight leads from overseas are broadly negative this morning, so it's a relief that there is plenty of domestic action to distract from the Greek farce. Today is one of the busiest day on the corporate reporting calendar, with updates due from ANZ, AMC, AIO, ARI, CGF, CCL, DSH, FMG, GWA, HIL, ILU, IVC, MND, PBG, SEK, SVW, SHL and WSA (source: Fairfax). Of at least as much importance for the overall markets is the minutes from the January Reserve Bank meeting, published at 11.30am EST. Every word will be scoured for its implications for the cash rate. Neither side has blinked yet in the Greek staring contest. A compromise is the rational solution, but time is running out. Weak US equity index futures will limit risk appetite here unless they improve.

    ECONOMIC NEWS: The minutes from the January RBA policy meeting are due at 11.30am EST. European finance ministers meet again tonight. Wall Street resumes trade with a light diet, including the Empire State Manufacturing Index, housing market index and long-term purchases.

    Good luck to all.
 
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