6 things Australian traders will be talking about this morning

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Good morning.

To the scoreboard:

Dow: 24,793.44 +141.70 (+0.57%)
S&P 500: 2,691.22 +15.41 (+0.58%)
AUD/USD: 0.7667 +0.0020 (+0.26%)
ASX200 SPI futures (December contracts, 20 minute delay): 6,065 (+24)

1. Stocks are flying: The tech-focused NASDAQ is at a new record high above 7,000, while shares in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway cleared $US300,000 for the first time as US legislators prepare to sign stock-friendly tax cuts into law this week. With a strong global lead, ASX futures traders are positioned for another move higher on the local index after yesterday’s gains.

2. But the USD is grounded: Currency traders appear to be more sceptical about a tax cut-driven boost to US economic growth, as the US dollar index gave back some of yesterday’s gains with falls against all the major trading pairs. That provided support for the AUD which is approaching its 200-day moving average of 0.7690 US cents this morning.

3. Bond markets are also calm: Bond investors are still waiting to see more evidence of US growth and inflation, with benchmark US 10-year bond yields edging slightly higher to 2.39%. On the domestic data front today, there’s ANZ’s weekly consumer confidence figures at 9:30am AEDT followed by the minutes from the RBA’s December meeting at 11:30am AEDT.

4. Iron ore hits a three-month high: Spot prices are back over $US70 a tonne – a gain of 26.7% since October — as steel prices rise amid optimism that near-term steel demand will climb once China’s winter production cuts end in March. In base metals, copper continued to edge higher will gold moved off its recent lows, helped by weakness in the US dollar.

5. Bitcoin holds steady: After a small slide yesterday, underlying bitcoin prices were little-changed overnight in the first full session of futures trading on the CME exchange. Slightly over 1,000 one-month contracts — expiring in January 2018 — have now changed hands. Meanwhile, an early investor has sold up his Bitcoin holdings, arguing that its lack of transaction capability makes it “useless”.

6. Stock pickers break out the crystal ball: It’s that time of year when analysts are asked for their market predictions over the next 12 months. Here’s where 12 experts think the US S&P500 will finish in 2018 — along with their reasons why. And while we’re on predictions, JP Morgan have chosen Twitter as one of their top stock picks next year.

Have a great day.

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