To the scoreboard:
Dow: 24,610.91 -335.60 (-1.35%)
S&P 500: 2,712.92 -39.09 (-1.42%)
AUD/USD: 0.7717 -0.0002 (-0.03%)
ASX200 SPI futures (June contracts): 5,925 (-33)
1. US stocks hit hard: It was all about the Facebook-led tech sector selloff overnight, as shares in the world’s biggest social network tanked by more than 6% in the wake of a huge data breach scandal. But with recent jitters around trade wars and this Wednesday’s US Fed meeting, selling extended to all sectors and the ASX200 looks set for a sharp fall at this morning’s open.
2. The pound was the standout on currency markets — which weighed on UK stocks — pushing back above $US1.40 after the UK and Europe made headway on a Brexit transition deal. Another round of weakness in the US dollar provided support for the AUD, but the Aussie dipped lower against most major currencies overnight.
3. Safe-haven flows absent: AxiTrader’s Greg McKenna noted this morning that markets aren’t behaving the way one would usually expect in a stock selloff. That typically prompts a flight to safety but gold is only just higher, USD/YEN is holding above 106 despite broader weakness in the greenback and US 10-year bond yields are little-changed this morning at 2.86%.
4. The day ahead: There’s the RBA’s board minutes at 2:30pm AEDT, where markets will look for clarity after the bank hinted at lower growth projections in its March rates announcement. After ANZ consumer data this morning the RBA’s Michelle Bullock will speak on a panel at the ASIC Annual Forum (3:15pm AEDT). Later tonight there’s UK inflation data.
5. Iron ore gets clobbered again: Prices now sit at their lowest level since December 7 amid a build-up of port inventories in China and a weaker outlook for Chinese steel demand. There was also weakness across other base metals with copper down more than 1%, while benchmark crude oil was little changed at $US66 a barrel.
6. There are falls from grace, and then there’s falling from a $US126 million trading bonus to sitting in a jail cell. That’s the predicament of former start Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar, who pleaded guilty on March 2 to rigging the Euribor benchmark interest rate. Bittar’s conviction marks a major scalp in a six-year investigation by UK authorities.
Have a great day.