The Australian share market looks set to open sharply lower after the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell into the red after earlier breaching the 26,000 point mark for the first time.

At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price futures index was down 36 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 5,956.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average raced past the 26,000 mark for the first time as fourth-quarter earnings season got off to a strong start following upbeat results from UnitedHealth and Citigroup.

But the index turned tail later in the session, falling into negative territory, along with its peers the S&P500 and the Nasdaq, as oil prices fell and weighed on energy stocks.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11 per cent, the S&P500 was down 0.31 per cent at 2,777.67, while the Nasdaq had fallen 0.44 per cent to 7,229.00.

Locally, in economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release November’s housing finance data.

In equities news, metals and mining company South32 is slated to release quarterly results.

The Australian market on Tuesday closed weaker, led into the red by retreating financial and energy stocks, while the Australian dollar continued its upward run towards 80 US cents.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 28.5 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 6,048.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 21.8 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 6,165.9 points

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has slipped against its US counterpart which has recouped a little of its recent losses.

The local currency was trading at 79.60 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, from 79.64 on Tuesday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.60 US cents, from 79.64 on Tuesday

* 87.79 Japanese yen, from 88.29 yen

* 64.87 euro cents, from 64.95 euro cents

* 57.71 British pence, from 57.77 pence

* 109.41 NZ cents, from 109.36 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,338.536 per fine ounce, from $US1,340.04 per fine ounce on Tuesday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0559pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7241pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.235 (implying a yield of 2.765pct), from 97.225 (implying a yield of 2.775pct) on Tuesday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.810 (2.190pct), from 97.795 (2.205pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)