Foolish Preview: The last trading day of the financial year

A weak lead from Wall Street suggests a soft start, and we look forward to the end of the financial year

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US markets recovered from large falls overnight, as investors took cues from the EU Summit as positive, leaving The Dow Jones Industrial Average down just 0.2%, the S&P 500 Index also down 0.2% although the Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.9% lower.

European leaders have agreed to new growth measures worth €120bn, to stimulate failing economies.

JPMorgan shares fell after a report in the New York Times projected that losses from a recent botched trade could hit US$9bn, up from an original estimate of US$2Bn.

Blackberry maker, Research in Motion (RIMM) shares have fallen 15% in after-market trading, after the company posted its first quarterly loss in more than a decade. Android, Windows phones and iPhones have all been taking subscribers from RIMM. The company appears to be on the path to extinction — or at least long term poor performance.

The Australian dollar was down slightly overnight, although still trading around parity with the US dollar.

In commodities news, gold was down 1.4% to US$1553.10 an ounce and oil continues its price slide, August oil futures ending below $80, at $77.69 a barrel.

Last trading day of the financial year

It's the last trading day of the financial year and the S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) looks like having another lacklustre start, following yesterday's 0.04% rise. The ASX SPI futures closed down just 8 points this morning, suggesting the financial year could end with a whimper.

A slew of Chinese data could drive our resources stocks today, including industrial profits for May, the MNI business conditions for June and the HSBC manufacturing PMI for June.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will also release the latest private-sector data for May.

Media reports and speculation over News Corporation's (ASX: NWS) planned split and the implications for both the new companies are likely to keep News Corp in the news. Investors are concerned mainly about the newspapers and publishing side of the business, given falling circulation and heavy capital costs, as mainstream media moves online.

Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) shares could come under pressure, if the company's largest shareholder, Gina Rinehart decides to sell out of the company. Given the Fairfax board have declined to offer Ms Rinehart a board seat, selling out is just one of her options.

Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS) is also likely to feature today, following yesterday's announcement of a $325m institutional capital raising. Retail shareholders have also been offered to subscribe for another $50m. The company reiterated its earnings guidance for low to mid-single digit growth in underlying earnings per share. In plain English that's  around 3%-5%.

Foolish takeaway

Foolish investors may want to ignore the market noise today and do something more interesting, like watching grass grow or paint dry. Bring on next week, Fools!

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool'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). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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