To the scoreboard:
Dow: 25,178.61 -157.13 (-0.62%)
S&P 500: 2,783.02 -3.55 (-0.13%)
AUD/USD: 0.7868 +0.0019 +0.24%
ASX200 SPI futures (March contracts): 5,992 (+3)
1. US stocks struggled for traction to start the week, with gains overnight once again led by the big tech stocks. ASX futures traders expect the local index to open flat amid reports that Labor — if elected — will unveil tax changes to remove cash refunds for Australian investors with excess dividend imputation credits.
2. In currencies, the US dollar remains under pressure ahead of all-important US inflation data later tonight. So the AUD extended its gains overnight as the greenback “just can’t take a trick” according to AxiTrader’s Greg McKenna, despite dovish comments from ECB board members overnight about inflation and the outlook for interest rates.
3. Before February inflation data in the US tonight, Australia has NAB’s monthly business survey (11:30am AEDT) — which has recently been tracking at record highs. There’s also ANZ’s weekly consumer confidence data at 9:30am and housing finance figures for January (11:30am), while the RBA’s Michelle Bullock is scheduled to speak at the Australia Payments Conference (11:10am).
4. Oil prices gave back some of last week’s gains after reports showed US oil production is set to rise to a record high in April. And iron ore’s losing streak extended to seven straight sessions, with prices back below $US70 a tonne for the first time since December amid a weakening outlook for Chinese steel demand.
5. The sale of bitcoins to fund the liquidation proceedings of a bankrupt crypto exchange have been completed — for now — but bitcoin remains under pressure with prices falling back below $US9,000 on some exchanges. The recent price action has got some some commentators questioning whether bitcoin’s boom and bust cycle may be an omen for more traditional asset classes.
6. Amazon obsession: Shares in Amazon closed this morning at a new record high just below $US1,600, and the company has added around $US300 billion in value over the last three months alone. It’s got Wall Street obsessed with which industries the tech titan could take over next, with analysts highlighting various targets including banking, logistics and online travel.
Have a great day.