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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

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On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) was back on form and pushed slightly higher. The benchmark index rose 0.1% to 6,191.8 points.

Will the market be able to build on this on Thursday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX 200 expected to sink lower.

News that the U.S. Senate has blocked a US$500 billion COVID-19 stimulus package looks set to weigh on the Australian share market this morning. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 57 points or 0.9% lower. Over on Wall Street, in late trade the Dow Jones is down 0.1%, the S&P 500 is up 0.15%, and the Nasdaq has risen 0.2%.

Oil prices tumble lower.

It could be a difficult day for energy shares such as Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) on Thursday after oil prices tumbled notably lower.  According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is down 3.9% to US$40.09 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price is down 3.2% to US$41.78 a barrel. Weak demand for gasoline in the United States led to this decline.

Annual general meetings.

It is going to be a busy day of annual general meetings on Thursday. Among the companies holding meetings today are Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN), and Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB). Both companies are likely to provide an update on how they are performing so far this financial year. Webjet’s bookings and cash burn will be of particular interest.

Gold price charges higher.

It could be a good day for gold miners including Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) after the gold price charged higher overnight. According to CNBC, the spot gold price is up 0.5% to US$1,925.30 an ounce. This was driven by further weakness in the U.S. dollar.

Westpac sells Zip stake.

The Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P) share price will be one to watch this morning after Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) announced an agreement to sell its 10.7% stake to institutional investors for a 6% discount of $6.65 per share. Westpac owns 55,460,987 Zip shares, which values its stake at approximately $368.8 million, based on the offer price. The bank notes that the sale will add around 8 basis points to its common equity tier 1 capital ratio.

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James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of ZIPCOLTD FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia 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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