Good morning and happy Friday.
To the scoreboard:
Dow: 24,873.66 +115.54 (+0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,747.33 -2.15 (-0.08%)
AUD/USD: 0.7799 -0.0078 (-0.99%)
ASX200 SPI futures (June contracts): 5,923 (+12)
1. The US dollar pushed higher overnight after solid data prints for manufacturing and jobless claims. And the cost of imports rose in February — a signal that inflationary pressures are edging higher. The move was especially pronounced against the commodity bloc currencies including the AUD, with the Aussie more than 1% down against the greenback this morning.
2. Stocks remain in a state of flux, with US sanctions against the Russia the latest geo-political developments to roil markets this week. But ASX futures traders are optimistic, betting on a higher open this morning despite a flat global lead.
3. So markets head into the final day of trade for the week with few changes in stocks and bond markets. US 10-year bond yields are holding steady — but trading off their recent highs — around 2.83% ahead of next Wednesday’s interest rate announcement, where markets expect the US Fed to make the first of four rate hikes this year.
4. In commodities, iron ore extended its mini-rally after eight straight falls, with Macquarie analysts predicting that Chinese steel demand will strengthen in the weeks ahead. Oil prices edged higher in a choppy session of trade, while strength in the USD put downward pressure on gold and copper also fell.
5. Bitcoin battles back: Prices are back above $US8,000 this morning after markets got spooked by Google’s cryptocurrency ad ban, which came in the wake of increased regulatory pressures on the sector. But not all industries are turning their backs on crypto — Playboy has announced it will accept bitcoin and ethereum as part of efforts to boost user engagement.
6. Expert round-up: Today marks the 10th anniversary of US bank Bear Stearns’ collapse — a key event in what became the global financial crisis. Will history repeat? JP Morgan’s recession model says there’s only an 18% chance of an economic downturn in the next 12 months. And Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg says housing markets are safer now, although risks are rising in corporate debt.
Have a great weekend.