To the scoreboard:
Dow: 24,727.27 +116.36 +0.47%
S&P 500: 2,716.94 +4.02 +0.15%
AUD/USD: 0.7682 -0.0002 -0.03%
ASX SPI futures (June contract): 5,930 +7
1. While a broader tone of caution remains evident, stocks climbed in the UK and Europe overnight and US markets also edged higher. That was despite more pressure on Facebook shares, which dipped below their 200-day moving average amid calls for a regulatory probe.
2. In currencies, the greenback showed some strength as the US dollar index pushed back over 90. There were gains against the euro after the ZEW survey on German business sentiment declined, while the pound was lower as UK inflation data missed expectations. The renewed USD strength also drove another decline in the Aussie.
3. And on the topic of renewed strength, bitcoin raced back towards US$9,000 overnight following news that leaders from a G20 summit said they had no plans for a coordinated crackdown on the market. Which is probably good news for the founders of EverMarkets, who are looking to set up a high-speed trading platform for bitcoin derivatives.
4. All eyes on the Fed. US bond yields edged higher to 2.89% overnight as the US Federal Reserve two-day meeting got under way. A March rate rise is fully priced in when the Fed makes its interest rate announcement at 5am tomorrow (AEDT), so the bank’s accompanying statement will be closely scrutinised for clues on its 2018 rates outlook.
5. In commodities, reports of increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran saw prices for benchmark crude rise more than 2% to above $US67 a barrel overnight. And iron ore prices are still falling, just not as sharply.
6. Stock market bears gather. Morgan Stanley says that US stocks may have hit their 2018 peak, citing a notable fall in risk sentiment among both institutional and retail investors. And there are cracks forming in bullish sentiment among US fund managers, with Bank of America Merril Lynch’s monthly survey showing looming trade wars as the biggest risk.
Have a great day.