To the scoreboard:
Dow: 24,758.12 -248.91 (-1.00%)
S&P 500: 2,749.48 -15.83 (-0.57%)
AUD/USD: 0.7877 +0.0017 (+0.22%)
ASX200 SPI futures (June contracts): 5,921 (-7)
1. AUD strength continues: The Aussie briefly pushed back above US79 cents overnight, despite more of a risk-off tone in global markets. The US dollar put in a mixed performance after retail sales unexpectedly fell for the third straight month — it lost ground against the yen but rose against the euro after a dovish speech from ECB President Mario Draghi.
2. US stocks fell for the third straight day, amid lingering concerns about the Trump administration’s threats to start a trade war — which have been exacerbated by the latest round of upheaval in the White House. Stocks in the UK and Europe were flat and ASX futures traders expect the local index to be little-changed when markets open this morning.
3. And bond yields are lower, with US 10-year yields down 4 basis points at 2.81% after a cautious night of trade on global markets. Most analysts have downgraded their Q1 growth outlook for the US, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow model is now forecasting GDP for the March quarter to rise by only 1.9%.
4. Cryptos took a big hit overnight after Google announced it will ban ads for cryptocurrencies on its platform, starting in June. Bitcoin slumped from around $US9,000 to less than $US8,300 amid a broad-based selloff, with other major cryptos now trading at their lowest level of the year.
5. Gold traded flat overnight despite the risk-off sentiment in global markets, while iron ore’s eight-day losing streak is over. Oil rose slightly, after a huge build in US oil inventories was outweighed by strong demand as refined gasoline stockpiles fell just as sharply.
6. Pimco cautious on Australia: Bloomberg reports that the $US1.75 trillion money manager is reducing its exposure to Australian bank debt, and repositioning out of bonds issued by real estate investment trusts and retailers — citing concerns about Australia’s consumption outlook amid low wage growth and high household debt.
Have a great day.