International markets peeled lower overnight as reports showed Spain entered its second recession since 2009 and US business activity cooled.
In Europe the FTSE 100 gave up 39 points (-0.7%) to settle at 5738, whilst the CAC (-1.6%) and DAX (-0.6%) were also weaker.
Stateside, the Dow Jones shed 15 points (-0.1%) to settle at 13214, whilst the S&P (-0.4%) and Nasdaq (-0.7%) endured larger declines.
Stocks retreated as the ISM-Chicago’s business barometer decreased to 56.2 during the month, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.
Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ general economic index unexpectedly showed contraction in April, dropping to -3.4 from 10.8 in the prior month.
The Aussie dollar also weakened overnight and is now buying US$1.042, whilst the British pound reached a 22-month high against the euro after an industry report showed British house prices rose in April, boosting demand for UK assets.
Oil fell as Spain’s economy contracted in the first quarter, putting the country into its second recession since 2009 and bolstering concern that fuel demand in the euro region will contract. Crude shed 0.1%, to US$104.89 a barrel.
Gold futures slid, capping a third straight monthly decline, on concern that demand in India, the world’s biggest buyer, is slowing.
In company news, Alesco Corporation has received a $2 a share takeover offer from Dulux Group. The offer represents a 42.9% premium to Alesco’s last closing price.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the house price index (11:30am, AEDT), as well as the all important RBA cash rate and statement, at 2:30pm, AEDT.