To the scoreboard:
Dow: 25,335.74 +440.53 (+1.77%)
S&P 500: 2,786.57 +47.60 (+1.74%)
AUD/USD: 0.7848 +0.0060 (+0.77%)
ASX200 SPI futures (March contracts): 6,020 (+57)
1. US jobs bonanza: February employment data crushed expectations, with a huge 313,000 jobs added (205,000 forecast). Combined with more moderate wage growth than January, the data helped reinforce the view that economic growth is steady while inflationary forces remain muted. Along with positive geo-political developments in North Korea, investor risk appetite got a boost to end the week.
2. So the ASX is poised for a strong open this morning, following the lead of the S&P500 which rose by 1.74% on Friday night. The stock market gains came amid a more benign move in bonds, with benchmark US 10-years briefly climbing above US 2.9% in the wake of the employment data before closing the week at 2.89%.
3. The Aussie dollar rose across the board to end the week, aided by the risk-on sentiment to end the week along with some more weakness in the USD after the slowdown in US wage growth. The US dollar index traded flat, and finished lower against most major currencies but was propped up by a move out of the safe-have Japanese yen.
4. The week ahead: It’s a quieter schedule domestically after last week’s data deluge, with NAB’s business survey and housing finance data (both on Tuesday) the highlights. Internationally, all eyes will be on US inflation figures for February on Tuesday night. A full rundown of the week ahead can be found here.
5. Iron ore got hammered with its worst one-day fall of the year on Friday night, and analysts are split as to what’s driving the recent price falls. But oil snapped out of its slide following higher-than-expected US oil inventories last Wednesday, with benchmark crude posting a 3% gain on Friday to end the week back above $US65 a barrel. And base metals ripped higher, with copper, zinc and nickel prices all climbing by at least 2% on Friday,
6. Bitcoin rallied back to $US9,500 over the weekend, after increasing regulatory pressures gave rise to a broader crypto selloff on Friday. Japan suspended two cryptocurrency exchanges from trading while the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) — which views digital currencies as securitised assets — said more scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges will be forthcoming.
Have a great week.
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