6 things Australian traders will be talking about this morning

(Photo by Artur Widak / NurPhoto / Getty Images)

Good morning and happy Friday.

To the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 24,595.76 +68.49 (+0.28%)
  • S&P 500: 2,649.38 -1.69 (-0.06%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7225 +0.0005 (+0.07%)
  • ASX200 SPI futures (December contracts): 5,637 (-11)

1. ASX futures are pointing slightly lower after a cautious session in the US and Europe overnight, as markets await the next key development in US-China trade negotiations. A more negative outlook from the European Central Bank also weighed on sentiment.

2. The ECB announced it will now halt its asset-purchasing program as expected, but President Mario Draghi said downside risks are building in the Eurozone economy. The ECB also downgraded its growth forecasts for next year.

3. However, the bank’s pledge to keep rates on hold until summer 2019 “may have surprised market expectations for the date to be extended”, Westpac said. The euro fell initially before gaining back some ground, while the Aussie dollar traded largely flat overnight.

4. In commodities, oil prices bounced in a choppy session, following reports that Saudi Arabia plans to cut exports to US refineries over the next few weeks. Iron ore prices also jumped, while Bitcoin came under some mild selling pressure to fall to around $US3,240 this morning.

5. Two other central banks also made policy announcement, with the Swiss National Bank and the Central Bank of Norway both keeping rates on hold as expected. In bond markets, benchmark US 10-year bond yields held flat at 2.91%, which saw the widely-watched 2-year / 10-year yield spread widen to 15 basis points — a one-week high.

6. And famous short-seller Jim Chanos has explained his latest trade idea to profit from tensions between the US and China. Chanos said he’s betting against the big US gaming companies that have operations in Macau, and are heavily reliant on a strong relationship between the two countries.

Here’s a look at today’s economic calendar:

  • Chinese activity data for November — industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment.
  • Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey of business sentiment.
  • Eurozone preliminary manufacturing/services PMIs for December.
  • US retail sales for November which will be “closely watched”, Westpac says.

Have a great weekend.