To the scoreboard:
Dow: 22,956.96 +85.24 (+0.37%)
S&P 500: 2,557.64 +4.47 (+0.18%)
AUD/USD: 0.7851 -0.0045 (-0.44%)
ASX200 SPI futures (December contracts): 5,839 (+11)
1. Oil the main mover: In a fairly quiet night for markets, the main focus was on oil prices with benchmark crude closing above $US58 a barrel, just shy of the multi-year highs reached in late September. The move was driven by an outbreak of fighting between Iraqi forces and Kurdistan in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, following the regional Kurdish government’s vote for independence last month.
2. US stocks predictable: Another day, another record high for each of three major US stocks indexes, with energy stocks leading the S&P500 higher following the move in oil prices. That’s got futures traders confident the ASX200 will book in its fifth straight session of gains today, with the local index up 3.4% since October 5.
3. More dangerous bets: With US stocks at record highs amid low volatility, traders with risk appetite have set a record high of their own — loading up on bets shorting the VIX volatility index. It’s reminded some analysts of the conditions just before the 1987 market crash. And Goldman’s have the put the probability of a bear market for stocks within the next two years at 88%.
4. Quiet night for currencies: With no key data releases to drive the action, the US dollar index climbed as the greenback gained ground against the major currencies along with another sharp move higher against the Mexican Peso. US bond yields also rose, with benchmark 10-year bond yields back over 2.3%.
5. Data today: This morning there’s ANZ’s weekly consumer confidence data before the minutes from the RBA’s October board meeting are released at 11:30am AEST. There’s also September inflation data abroad, with New Zealand to report this morning and figures for the UK and Eurozone released tonight.
6. Commodities wrap: Iron ore rose again but futures markets suggest the latest rally will be short-lived, while it was another strong session for copper with prices up more than 3.4% to their highest level since July 2014. Gold prices were flat, holding just above $US1,300 an ounce.