To the scoreboard:
Dow: 26,182.11 +105.22 (+0.40%)
S&P 500: 2,826.02 +3.59 (+0.13%)
AUD/USD: 0.8095 -0.0015 (-0.18%)
ASX200 SPI futures (March contracts): 5,989 (-21)
1. The US Federal Reserve kept rates on hold as expected — with markets still priced for a March rate hike — but some positive language about the economy gave some support to the US dollar and bond yields edged higher.
2. And the Q4 US Employment Cost Index — which is the broadest measure of labour costs in the US economy — just rose at the fastest pace since the start of 2015. With the US economy expected to hit full employmemt this year. A tightening labour market looks to be putting upward pressure on wage growth — a key variable in the outlook for inflation.
3. AUD is under pressure: The Aussie was sold off across the board overnight following yesterday’s CPI data in which annual inflation growth just missed to the downside. It reached a low of 0.8042 US cents but has rallied slightly in early Asian trade. AxiTrader’s Greg McKenna says broader downside pressure still remains.
4. US stocks traded flat with tech earnings season in full swing. Analysts are forecasting another big quarter of revenue growth when Facebook reports earnings after markets close. And after a huge month in January, here’s what a $US2.8 trillion fund managers are looking for to signal that the bull market in stocks may be over.
5. Bitcoin is still finding support at the $US10,000 dollar mark this morning after yesterday’s price falls, but Ethereum has been the standout performer so far this year. Meanwhile Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he sold all of his Bitcoin at the December market top, and this 19 year-old Bitcoin millionaire is holding onto his and says he still believes in cryptocurrencies.
6. The recent moves in bonds make sense, according to UBS Asset Management’s Asia-Pacific head of fixed income Anne Anderson. With markets increasingly focused on higher bond yields, Anderson told the AFR that such a move was a natural response to the improving global growth picture, and central banks will tread carefully with their policy tightening to prevent another taper tantrum.
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