Australian markets are expected to open slightly lower after the US-led attacks on Syria and much of the focus in the coming week will be on overseas events and data.

Share futures were down six points after the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday closed 13.6 points, or 0.23 per cent higher, at 5,829.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries ended up 13.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,924.7 points.

US shares also fell, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.5 per cent, the S&P 500 losing 0.3 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite dropping 0.5 per cent.

‘Investors will be a bit on edge,’ AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver said on Sunday.

When markets open on Monday, Dr Oliver is tipping a fall of about 0.1 per cent or more.


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CommSec chief economist Craig James expects movement away from mining and energy shares towards telcos, the Japanese Yen and gold.

At the start of the week, the focus will be on US retail figures, due on Monday, and Chinese growth data that’s due on Tuesday.

Chinese growth will likely remain around 6.8 per cent, in line with market expectations, Dr Oliver said.

US retail numbers are forecast for a slight rebound after a soft start to the year, with strong jobs growth also helping increase spending, he said.

The RBA will on Tuesday release the minutes of its monthly policy meeting and cash rate decision, after it left with the cash rate at a record low of 1.5 per cent.

Australian employment figures are due to be released on Thursday and both Dr Oliver and Mr James are predicting a gain of about 20,000 jobs, and for the unemployment rate to be around 5.5 per cent.

Investors will also be watching for further information about US and Chinese trade deals.

The Australian dollar is expected to hover between 76.00 US cents and 78.00 US cents.