5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its poor run with the slightest of declines. It gave back its earlier gains and finished the day down 1.7 points at 6,195.9 points.

Will things be better on Thursday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX futures pointing lower.

It was a disappointing night of trade on US markets as trade war concerns weighed on investor sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.7% lower, the S&P 500 was down 0.9%, and the NASDAQ was down a sizeable 1.5%. Unsurprisingly the Australian share market is expected to open the day lower on Thursday following these declines. According to the latest SPI futures, it is expected to open the day 9 points or 0.15% lower.

Oil prices zoom higher.

It has been yet another day of gains for oil prices, though. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price pushed 2.5% higher to US$72.30 a barrel and Brent crude oil rose 1.2% to US$77.25 a barrel. Prices pushed higher amid supply disruptions in Libya and Canada. This could mean another positive day of trade for the likes of Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL).

Popular dividend shares going ex-dividend.

A number of shares will go ex-dividend on Thursday for their latest distributions. These include Magellan Global Trust (ASX: MGG), Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR), National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR), Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF), Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD), and Transurban Group (ASX: TCL).

Australian Mines shares return to trade.

The Australian Mines Limited (ASX: AUZ) share price will be one to watch following its return from a trading halt after responding to an ASX query. The response saw the cobalt and mineral exploration company retracting financial forecasts given by managing director Benjamin Bell at a recent conference in London. Mr Bell had stated that the Sconi nickel and cobalt project was expected to generate revenue of $400 million per year through a $5 billion deal with SK Innovation. The company agreed there was no “reasonable basis” to offer such forecasts. Its shares have been on fire in OTC markets whilst halted.

Aurizon Holdings shares rated as a sell.

According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, its analysts have reiterated their sell rating on Australian rail freight operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd (ASX: AZJ) after its investor day. Although the company announced a number of new operational initiatives, it wasn’t enough to allay UT5 concerns. Goldman has a $3.90 price target on Aurizon’s shares.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended RURALFUNDS STAPLED, Sydney Airport Holdings Limited, and Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended National Storage REIT. 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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