To the scoreboard:
Dow: 23,563.36 +6.13 (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,594.92 +4.28 (+0.17%)
AUD/USD: 0.7677 +0.0034 (+0.44%)
ASX200 SPI futures (December contracts, 20 minute delay): 6,009 (+11)
1. RBNZ holds: New Zealand’s central bank kept rates on hold this morning at 1.75%, as expected. Full coverage is here. The bank said it was uncertain about the impact of the recent change in government, and updated its longer-term growth projections. The Kiwi dollar is sharply higher in early trade, with stronger gains against the US dollar, Japanese yen and UK pound.
2. USD weaker: Currency markets had an eye on pending developments in Washington overnight, amid the possibility that the current version of the Republican tax bill won’t be passed by the Senate in its present form. The greenback was lower against most major currencies except the UK pound, which fell amid news that Theresa May’s government may lose a second cabinet minister within a week.
3. Wild night for Bitcoin: News broke overnight that the proposed Segwit2x hard fork — who’s advocates wanted to boost transaction speed — had been cancelled. That saw Bitcoin rocket to a record high of almost $US7,900 before a sharp retreat. A short time ago, prices had steadied at just over $US7,200. Meanwhile, institutional investors are entering the Bitcoin fray with $US50 million trade offers — more on that here from Frank Chaparro (it’s worth a read).
4. US stocks edge higher again: Falls in financials caused by the lingering doubts around tax reform were offset by gains in the big tech stocks, although Snapchat got hammered after a weak earnings report. And in the wake of the notable out-performance by major tech stocks this year, there’s now a futures index allowing investors to trade 10 of the biggest tech stocks in the world.
5. Solid session for the AUD: The Aussie clawed back the previous sessions losses amid the weakness in its major trading pairs overnight. Iron ore prices were steady overnight and futures markets suggest another push higher, while base metals also rose. Oil prices dipped again to fall 2% below their Tuesday high, as US inventory data showed a gain of 2.2 million barrels against forecasts of a 2 million barrel draw-down.
6. Data today: The ABS has September housing finance data at 11:30am AEST, following a surprise increase in investor loans in August. That will be followed during Asian trade by the release of Chinese inflation data for October. The key release overnight will be German trade figures in a relatively quiet calendar for international data.
Have a great day.