Triple-digit losses for the Dow, ASX set to open lower

After being off almost 180 points (1.4%) in early trade, the index recovered some of those losses by the end of the trading day overnight, our time, to close down 102 points, or 0.8%, to 12,927 points.

It was the strongest of the three main US indices, with the Nasdaq closing off 1.0% and the broader S&P 500 index down 0.84%.

Continued uncertainty in Europe – midway through the French presidential election, and with the Dutch cabinet resigning overnight – weighed on international markets, and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) fell after being caught up in bribery investigations.

Gold fell slightly, down 0.2% to US$1638.50 and US Crude Oil was flat.

The US markets have weighed heavily on the ASX futures, with the ASX SPI down 21 points to 4,337, a fall of 0.5%. The S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) and All Ordinaries (Index: ^AORD) (ASX: XAO) are likely to come under pressure at the open this morning.

Of the Australian companies with listings on overseas markets, BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) (NYSE: BHP) closed down 2% in US trading, while Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) (NYSE: RIO) was sold off heavily, down 4.24%, with resources companies being among the heaviest losses on the US markets overnight.

After a quiet news day yesterday, there will be a lot of interest in today’s news flow. On a macro level, the March quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI) will be released today, in what many believe will lock in a rate cut at the next meeting of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The Australian dollar didn’t move much overnight, after falling yesterday on the release of the Producer Price Index numbers, with the market keenly awaiting the CPI release.

In company news, Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) will release third-quarter sales, both Oil Search (ASX: OSH) and Newcrest (ASX: NCM) will update the market on the last quarter’s production and Spotless Group (ASX: SPT) is in a trading halt as takeover talks continue with Pacific Equity Partners.

Stay Foolish, dear reader – jumping at shadows is rarely a profitable endeavour.

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Scott Phillips is a Motley Fool investment analyst. Scott owns shares in Wal-Mart. You can follow him on Twitter @TMFGilla Take Stock is The Motley Fool Australia’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  Click here now  to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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