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The Australian equity market is pointed to a slightly weak open to the trading day as overnight stocks ended lower amid ongoing concerns over the euro zone debt crisis.

The Dow finished the trading session down 26.64 points at 12938.90 while the S&P500 index closed down 4.57 points at 1357.63.

Fitch ratings agency cut the Greek sovereign debt to C from CCC, saying that a default is highly likely in the near term. The downgrade comes after the debt-ridden nation secured a second bailout Tuesday.

On the economic front the Chinese manufacturing sector contracted for the fourth month in a row in February while weaker than expected PMI data was reported out of Germany overnight.

The pound declined from overnight highs of 1.5866 to recent lows of 1.5650 after minutes of the BOE meeting showed that two policy makers wanted a larger increase in asset purchases than the amount finally agreed.

Gold (see above chart) has continued to trade higher on speculation that the US will extend a stimulus to bolster the economy by continuing to exchange short term debt with longer term treasuries. Gold traded up from overnight lows of 1749.5 to recent highs of 1780.5.

The Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 18.

INDICES

 
 

Last Traded

SPI 200 future

 

S&P500 Index

1357.64

Dow Jones

12938.75

FTSE 100 Index

5916.55

  

COMMODITIES

 
 

Last Traded

Gold

1777.48

Oil (Nymex)

106.00

  

CURRENCIES

 
 

Last Traded

AUDUSD

1.0635

EURUSD

1.3242

GBPUSD

1.5668

USDJPY

80.31

Source
Bloomberg, Dow Jones News