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Aust share market set for softer start

AAP logoAAP 14/08/2016

The Australian share market is set to start the week on a softer note, held back by the US bourse which eased in the face of tepid economic figures.

The local share price index futures contract is pointing to a dip of about 10 points in opening trade on Monday - taking its lead from Wall Street on Friday where lower-than-expected US retail data dented investor confidence.

"Retail sales figures for July came in flat whereas the market was looking for a small rise," AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver told AAP on Sunday.

The Australian dollar was sitting above 76 US cents after a slight fall on Friday night, driven not just by the US but by softer Chinese economic data.

And commodity prices were a mixed bag, with oil up by 2.3 per cent but gold and copper down.

The local profit reporting season ramps up this week with more that 60 key companies due to release their results, including AMP, BHP Billiton, CSL, JB HiFi, Wesfarmers, QBE, IAG, Lend Lease and Woodside Petroleum.

"BHP will show another sharp fall in profits - that's pretty much a given," Dr Oliver said.

But non-resources companies are expected to report modest profit growth.

"It's not a lot. The economy is growing but companies have seen a lot of competition in terms of pricing," he added.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes from is August 2 monetary policy board meeting on Tuesday, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics will post wages and employment figures later this week.

"They [the minutes] will probably show that the Reserve Bank is fairly dovish in the sense that they'll show a reasonable degree of comfort about growth in the economy but continued concern about the lack of inflation," Dr Oliver said.

"Wages growth figures, they'll probably show new record low wages growth of just two per cent and also jobs figures will show fairly slow growth."

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