5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) pushed 0.2% higher thanks partly to solid gains from banking giant Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA).

Will the market be able to build on this on Thursday? Here are five things that could impact the day’s trade:

ASX expected to open flat.

According to the latest SPI futures, the Australian share market is expected to open the day flat. This follows a soft night of trade on Wall Street which saw the Dow Jones fall 0.2%, the S&P 500 edge lower, and the Nasdaq edge ever so slightly higher.

China to impose import duties.

The soft night of trade on Wall Street is likely to be attributable to news out of China in respect to its trade war with the United States. Overnight China’s commerce ministry announced that it will soon impose 25% import duties targeting US$16 billion worth of U.S. goods. These retaliatory tariffs will take effect immediately after the U.S. imposes its own tariffs on Chinese goods. China intends to target coal, oil, chemicals, and certain medical equipment.

Oil prices tumble.

Unfortunately for energy producers such as Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), news of these import duties sent the price of oil tumbling lower. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price fell 3.2% to US$66.94 a barrel and the price of Brent crude oil fell almost 3.3% to US$72.22 a barrel.

Results releases.

Earning season is moving up a gear this morning with the release of several blue chip results. AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL), Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN), Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG), and Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN) are all scheduled to release their respective results today.

Rio Tinto shares go ex-dividend.

The shares of Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) are likely to drop lower today when they trade ex-dividend. Eligible shareholders of the mining giant can now look forward to receiving its 170.8 cents per share dividend in their nominated account on September 20. Elsewhere, eligible Arena REIT (ASX: ARF) shareholders are due to receive their 3.2 cents per share dividend today.

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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 Crown Resorts Limited. 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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