AUSTRALIAN DIARY: Everything you need to know about the week ahead for markets

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US stocks edged lower in a cautious session on Friday night, although the S&P500 still finished 2% higher for the week after US President Trump dialled back some his tough talk on trade.

But that was before the US-led attack on Syrian chemical weapons facilities over the weekend which prompted a harsh response from Russia.

US financial stocks lagged the broader index on Friday, despite a solid round of earnings reports from major banks including JP Morgan, which reported a 35% rise in annual profits.

And the Aussie dollar was in high demand from traders in Europe, briefly pushing above US78 cents before it met resistance to close the week at 0.7764 US cents.

Meanwhile, the spread between US 2-year and 10-year government bond yields fell its lowest level since 2007, as the US Fed remains committed to its plans for at least two more rate hikes this year.

Key events in Australia this week will be led by the release of minutes from the RBA’s April meeting on Tuesday, followed by monthly jobs data for March on Thursday.

Looking abroad, China has a big round of data on Tuesday, with Q1 GDP accompanied by the March prints for industrial productions and retail sales.

Australia

It’s looking like business as usual in Australia’s booming jobs market, with economists forecasting Thursday’s jobs data (11:30am AEDT) will show the economy added another 20,000 jobs in March.

That will bring the current streak to 18 straight month of net jobs growth, although the unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 5.5% as more people look for work.

The only other key event of note domestically this week will be the release of minutes from the RBA’s monthly rates meeting on Tuesday morning (11:30am AEDT).

Analysts will scope the minutes for any further clues on the bank’s outlook, after it kept rates on hold for the 18th consecutive time on April 3.

International

Key data abroad kicks off in the US on Monday night with the release of March retail sales, with expectations for solid monthly growth of 0.3%.

Then markets are forecasting annual growth of 6.8% when China reports its Q1 GDP figures on Tuesday (12:00pm AEDT), following a reading of 6.9% for the December quarter.

Also on Tuesday night (7pm AEDT) there’s the ZEW survey of German business sentiment, which is coming off a sharp fall in March when it had its lowest reading in 18 months.

The UK has inflation data on Wednesday evening (6:30pm AEDT), with markets predicting annual CPI growth of 2.4% in March.

Then overnight on Wednesday the Bank of Canada will makes its interest rate announcement, with rates expected to be kept on hold at 1.25%.

New Zealand will report quarterly inflation numbers on Thursday morning (8:45am AEDT), followed by UK retail sales on Thursday evening.

And on Friday in Asian trade (9:30am AEDT), Japan has monthly inflation data for March. Then Canada rounds out the week with March inflation data of its own on Friday night, along with February retail sales.

There’s also no less than 11 speeches by committee members of the US Federal Reserve scheduled this week. We’ve compiled the full list here:

Have a great week.

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