6 things Australian traders will be talking about this morning

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Good morning.

To the scoreboard:

Dow: 24,831.17 +91.64 (+0.37%)
S&P 500: 2,727.72 +4.65 (+0.17%)
AUD/USD: 0.7542 +0.0010 +0.13%
ASX200 SPI futures (June contracts): 6,100 (+4)

1. US stocks capped their best weekly gain in two months on Friday night while European markets climbed for the seventh straight week. So the ASX looks set to extend its recent gains this morning, although it’ll be an interesting week ahead with three of the big four banks scheduled to go ex-dividend.

2. The diary: Australia gets two key updates on the labour market this week, with Wednesday’s quarterly wage price index followed by monthly employment figures on Thursday. Internationally, there’s updates on European GDP and inflation, while US data will be headlined by retail sales. Check here for the full calendar.

3. In currencies, the US dollar lost a little ground after hitting its highest point of 2018 earlier in the week before a relatively tame inflation print on Thursday night. So the AUD found support against the greenback in an otherwise mixed session, closing at 0.7542 US cents but off its high of around 0.7560.

4. The spread between US 2-year and 10-year bond yields remains near decade-lows, as the Federal Reserve remains on track to raise rates at least two more times this year. US 2-year bond yields have pushed above 2.5% while US 10-years closed the week at 2.97%.

5. Oil prices dipped on Friday night but still finished the week 3% higher, while gold remains at the lower end of its 2018 trading range and closed at $US1,318 an ounce. Iron ore rose to the highest level since April 23 as the outlook for Chinese steel demand remains steady.

6. Bitcoin bounced off its weekend lows after slumping below $US9,000 on Friday. Crypto-mania is about to get into full swing at this years Consensus conference, which starts tonight in New York and runs until Wednesday. Here’s Morgan Stanley on how the rise of crypto could change how central banks deal with the next financial crisis.

Have a great week.

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