Shares are poised for an uncertain start after Wall Street dipped on further signs of weakness in US consumer spending, while miners pushed higher. Futures trading pointed to an five-point fall in the ASX at the open.
Yesterday's news that factory output and investment growth in China unexpectedly accelerated buoyed metals prices and helped spur buying in raw material producers overnight. BHP and Rio Tinto New York-listed shares pushed higher as iron prices at the Chinese port of Qingdao yesterday evening jumped almost $US2 a tonne to $US71.64.
The focal point for US investors was an unexpected fall in US retail sales in February - the third straight month of declines, according to Commerce Department figures. The latest reading added to signs that consumer spending will cool this quarter from the previous period's hot pace and after Tuesday's tepid inflation figures suggest unsteady growth in the world's largest economy.
Economists were quick to point to an inevitable "payback" after an exceptionally strong spending gain over the final three months of last year. Nonetheless, the recent deceleration in retail sales "is particularly disappointing given the boost to disposable incomes coming from the tax cuts, which arrived in February," Capital Economics said.
Source : http://www.afr.com/brand/before-the-bell/asx-set-to-struggle-early-as-soft-retail-sales-data-hits-wall-st-20180314-h0xhf8