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Stocks look set to open little changed near three-month highs after trade doubts and violence in Hong Kong weighed on Wall Street.

ASX SPI200 index futures ended the night session eight points or 0.1 per cent higher at 6773.

A lacklustre session in the US saw the S&P 500 open in the red, then  claw back much of its losses. The benchmark index ended six points or 0.2 per cent weaker. The Nasdaq slipped 11 points or 0.13 per cent.

The Dow edged up 10 points or 0.04 per cent to its ninth record close of the year after Boeing announced it expects its 737 Max planes to be back in the air by January. The fleet was grounded in March following two crashes attributed to faulty flight control software. Shares in the aircraft manufacturer jumped 4.6 per cent overnight.

The tone for the session was set by sharp losses on Asian markets as tensions escalated in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng slumped 2.62 per cent after the police shooting of a protestor triggered further violence over the weekend. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.83 per cent. European markets initially followed Asia lower, but rebounded with Wall Street to finish the session near flat. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed less than a point or 0.02 per cent weaker.

US stocks ended last week at record levels on optimism over trade talks. Expectations were tempered over the weekend as US President Donald Trump warned he would only sign if negotiators secured the “right deal” for America. Trump also said he had not agreed to cancel existing tariffs on Chinese goods, as claimed by China’s Commerce Ministry.

Australian stocks closed at three-month highs yesterday. The ASX 200 overcame technical resistance to rally 48 points or 0.7 per cent and finish a bullish session less than 1.1 per cent off its July record high.

The local rally came in the face of solid losses among iron ore miners as the spot price for Chinese ore slipped below $US80 a ton. Yesterday brought no respite, with the price of ore landed at Tianjin declining another $1.45 or 1.8 per cent to $US78.45. BHP’s US-listed stock fell 0.81 per cent overnight. Its UK-listed stock shed 1.99 per cent. Rio Tinto gave up 1.35 per cent in the US and 1.58 per cent in the UK.

Copper fell further from last week’s 15-month peak following Trump’s comments on trade. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.8 per cent to $US5,878 a tonne. Aluminium dropped 1.6 per cent, lead 0.8 per cent, nickel 3.9 per cent and tin 0.8 per cent. Zinc gained 0.6 per cent.

Oil retreated as trade optimism moderated. Brent crude settled 33 cents or 0.5 per cent lower at $US62.18 a barrel. Crude advanced 1.3 per cent last week following news that the number of US rigs drilling for oil declined for a third straight week.

Gold continued to search for a bottom to a retrace that has pulled it back to early-August lows. December gold settled $5.80 or 0.4 per cent weaker at $US1,457.10 an ounce. The precious metal last week suffered its biggest weekly decline in more than two years, falling 3.2 per cent as traders abandoned havens as the stock market made new highs.  

The dollar retreated more than a tenth of a cent to 68.5 US cents.

Domestic business confidence figures are due at 11.30 am Eastern Standard Time. A low-key session for scheduled news awaits tonight in the US, with no major releases on the slate until Wednesday.

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