AAP Finance

ASX set to start up following OPEC meeting

By AAP Newswire

Australian shares look set for a positive start to the week following Friday's gains by markets in the US, Canada and Europe.

OPEC's mixed messages on crude production sent oil prices soaring and gave energy stocks a bump, putting to rest an eight-day losing streak by the Dow.

While a 0.7 per cent gain in Toronto and positive data out of Europe pushed Australian futures up 13 points or 0.2 per cent.

CommSec chief economist Craig James says fears the US-led tit-for-tat trade skirmish could develop into an all-out trade war, along with a softer Australian dollar, had driven overseas investors south.

"One thing investors are focusing on is the US seems intent on creating trade wars with a whole range of different countries and the latest proposal is to put a 20 per cent tariff on cars coming (to the US) from Europe," he said on Sunday.

"The Aussie dollar has been a little bit softer making it easier for foreigners to buy our shares."

However, a slightly firmer Australian dollar in the week ahead may turn some overseas investors away from local shares, which are continuing to hover at near-record levels.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 6.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,225.2 points on Friday, bringing its weekly gain to more than two per cent, while the broader All Ordinaries slipped 10.8 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 6,322.1 points.

Mr James said uncertainty ahead of the OPEC meeting had led to Australian investors taking profits, causing the ASX to close down on Friday.

There's not a lot of top-shelf data or indicators in the weeks ahead.

Look out for the release of household debt and wealth levels, along with job vacancies, on Thursday.

And as the run-down to the end of financial year approaches, expect to see some earnings guidance released and a tidying of balance sheets.