Wall Street ended on a high note after US President Donald Trump announced his import tariffs on steel and aluminium will start in 15 days.
Markets at 8:00am (AEDT):
- ASX SPI 200 futures flat, ASX 200 (Thursday's close) +0.7pc at 5,943
- AUD: 77.9 US cents, 56.41 British pence, 63.3 Euro cents, 82.8 Japanese yen, $NZ1.07
- US: Dow Jones +0.4pc at 24,894, S&P 500 +0.5pc at 2,739, Nasdaq +0.4pc at 7,428
- Europe: FTSE +0.6pc at 7,203, DAX +0.9pc at 12,356, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1pc at 3,416
- Commodities: Brent crude -0.7pc at $US63.87/barrel, spot gold -0.3pc at $US1,322.21/ounce, iron ore -3.4pc at $US73.23/tonne
US allows tariff exemptions
There will be initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, and the possibility of alternatives for other nations, a senior administration official said.
Mr Trump's proclamations, ordering the tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium will allow other countries to discuss with the administration "alternative ways" to address the national security threat caused by their metal exports to the United States, the official said.
Asked whether those ways would include voluntary export restraints, the official did not provide specifics, saying only that the order could be "flexibly modified".
The exemptions for Canada and Mexico would start immediately, but their continuation would depend partly on progress in negotiations to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the official said.
He added that NAFTA was an important part of the US-Canada-Mexico security relationship.
How did Wall Street perform?
US markets were temperamental, with the main indexes alternating between gains and losses several times throughout the day.
By the closing bell, the Dow Jones gained 0.4 per cent to 24,894.
As for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, they also rose by 0.4 per cent each.
Australian market today
Australian shares are expected to open flat today.
Commodities took a hit — with gold, copper, iron ore and oil prices falling overnight, which will likely put pressure on mining and energy stocks.
The Australian dollar has slipped by 0.4 per cent to 77.94 US cents.
It has risen against the British pound (+0.3pc) and euro (+0.4pc).
More to come.