5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

S&P/ASX 200 opens 0.4% lower

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Welcome to Friday. Here are the five things I'm looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200(Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened 0.4% lower, as US markets drop for the fifth consecutive day.Overnight, the Dow Jones dropped 0.6%, the broader S&P 500 fell 0.9%, while the NASDAQ was crushed, falling 1.5%.

    Earnings from two of the US's largest banks dropped while electronics retailer Best Buy Co fell after warning of pricing pressure and sluggish demand this year. It didn't help that Switzerland's central bank scrapped its minimum exchange rate on Swiss francs, which saw the currency soar more than 14% against the US dollar the Euro. That seems to have freaked investors out.

    The Australian dollar is up slightly, buying 82.2 US cents.

  2. Coal producer Cockatoo Coal Limited (ASX: COK) could be in trouble after a proposed financing deal to help fund the expansion of its Bowen Basin project is reportedly in doubt.That has more ramifications, with the Wiggins Island coal export terminal (WICET), owned by some of Australia's biggest coal producers already on unsteady ground. Bandanna Energy, one of the 8 miners involved in WICET collapsed in September last year.

    Shares in Cockatoo Coal have been suspended for two months, pending its "funding and financial position". Oh Oh.

  3. Online payments company eWay has released data that showed Australians spent a whopping $2.95 billion online in the past two months. That's up around 22%, compared to the previous year, and well ahead of expectations of around 3-4%.
    eWay serves more than 17,000 Australian online stores and processes an estimated 25% of all local online purchases.
    That should bode well for retailers, particularly those with growing online sales, such as consumer electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH), Dick Smith Holdings Ltd (ASX: DSH).
  4. Tweet of the Day


  5. Stock of the Day– brought to you by Tim McArthur – Transurban Group (ASX: TCL). The toll-road owner just announced a 37% increase in its share of revenues from toll roads and has a solid outlook. Take to take a peek? You can read more here.
Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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