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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

On Tuesday the S&P/ASX 200 index ended the year on a very disappointing note. The benchmark index sank 1.8% lower to finish it at 6,684.1 points.

Will the local share market be able to bounce back from this on Thursday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX 200 expected to be flat.          

The S&P/ASX 200 index looks set to start the year in a subdued manner. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day flat at 6,684.1 points. This is despite a reasonably positive night of trade on Wall Street on Tuesday which saw the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 rise 0.3%, and the Nasdaq index trade flat. At one stage, futures contracts were pointing to another sizeable decline today.

Australian dollar strengthens.

The Australian dollar has continued to strengthen against the U.S. dollar. The local currency has increased around 3% over the last three weeks and is currently fetching 70.13 U.S. cents. This appears to be down largely to U.S. dollar weakness following news that the U.S. and China are close to sealing a trade deal.

Oil prices tumble.

Energy shares such as Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) could start the year in the red after oil prices tumbled lower. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price fell 0.75% to US$61.21 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price dropped almost 1% to US$66.03 a barrel.

Gold price edges higher.

Gold miners including Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) will be on watch on Thursday after the spot gold price edged higher once again. According to CNBC, the spot gold price climbed 0.1% to US$1,520 an ounce. Gold recorded its biggest yearly gain in a decade in 2019.

Housing data.

The REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) share price could be on the move today when the latest housing data is released by CoreLogic. This data will show how Australian house prices performed during the month of December. Investors will no doubt be keen to see further improvements in the housing market.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended REA Group 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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