The fallout on Wall Street from allegations that several Russians meddled in the 2016 US election is pointing to a flat start to the new trading week in Australia.
The US share market enjoyed decent gains on Friday but nearly all were lost after a grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, accused of interfering in an effort to support Donald Trump.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up just 0.08 per cent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.04 per cent.
Combined with some falls in commodity prices, AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver is predicting little movement on the Australian market on Monday.
‘My suspicion is we will probably open the market flat to down slightly, maybe five or 10 points,’ he said.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended Friday down 0.08 per cent at 5,904.0 points, with healthcare and industrial stocks making the strongest gains.
The index was up 1.1 per cent over the week.
Monday is expected to be a relatively quiet day of trading, with no major economic data and a small handful of profit results.
Dr Oliver says it won’t start to hot up until Tuesday, when the Reserve Bank releases the minutes of its most recent monetary policy meeting.
It’s tipped to repeat the message that, with wages likely to grow only gradually, there’s no urgency to raise interest rates.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday publishes the wage price index for the December quarter, which Dr Oliver believes will be the highlight of the week.
‘That’s the big issue in Australia – when are wages going to pick up?’ he said.
Some experts are pointing to an increase of 0.5 per cent, keeping annual growth at about two per cent.
‘But there is a little bit of a risk that we might even get a fallback in wages growth, below the two per cent bumper,’ Dr Oliver said.
Reporting season continues, with BHP, Wesfarmers, Fairfax, Crown and Qantas among the big names to publish their results.