5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) posted a disappointing decline of 0.48% to 5,828.7 points, wiping out a good portion of Tuesday’s gains.

Will things be better on Thursday? Here are five things that could shape today’s trade:

ASX futures point to further declines.

The latest ASX futures point to the Australian share market opening the day down 10 points or almost 0.2% in response to declines in the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.9% lower, the S&P 500 was off 0.55%, and the NASDAQ tumbled 0.36%. Geopolitical tensions weighed heavily on international markets after President Trump warned Russia on Twitter that action would be taken on Syria.

Oil prices continue to climb higher.

President Trump’s warning could, however, be good news for BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP), Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT), Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH). Fears that military action in Syria could disrupt oil supplies has led to prices climbing notably higher for a third day in a row. This has taken Brent crude oil 1.25% higher at US$71.93 per barrel and WTI crude oil 1.9% higher to US$66.74 per barrel, according to Bloomberg.

Gold miners could be set for a good day.

Another winner from rising tensions in Syria could be Australian gold miners such as Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN), Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST), and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG). With investors moving to risk off assets overnight, the spot gold price rose almost 1% to US$1,532.90 an ounce.

ANZ Bank is offloading more assets.

According to the AFR, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) is rumoured to be close to offloading its New Zealand life insurance business. Sale documents are believed to have been dispatched by Flagstaff Partners to interested partners. Previous market disclosures from September 30 revealed that its New Zealand life operations have consolidated assets of NZ$921 million.

Aristocrat Leisure could rise on broker note release.

The Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) share price could have a strong day of trade after Goldman Sachs reinstated coverage on the gaming technology company with a buy rating. The broker has also added Aristocrat Leisure to its conviction buy list and placed a price target of $30.70 on its shares.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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