ASX set to lose ground at open

The Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower after Wall Street fell on mixed US housing and inflation figures.

At 3.30am, the March share price index futures contract was down 12 points at 5061.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release average weekly time earnings (AWOTE) for the six months to November.

In equities news, ASX, Insurance Australia Group, Paperlinx, Qantas Airways, Bega Cheese, Retail Food Group, Fairfax Media, Echo Entertainment, Insurance Australia Group and Village Roadshow are among the companies due to post first half results.

AMP and Iluka Resources are expected to announce full year results.

Yesterday the market closed at a fresh four-year high as gains by financial stocks offset falls by the big miners.

At close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had lifted 16.8 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 5098.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 14 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 5115 points.

The West Australian

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