Welcome to your week:
– The severe weather disruptions that the US has been having are making it difficult to judge whether data is deteriorating or whether the weather is to blame. So it was on Friday night with US industrial production undershooting expectations of a 0.3% gain with a 0.3% fall. Weather? Maybe. Weak nonetheless.
– But rather than stock traders taking fright at the weak result, they just continued to buy and the S&P, after collapsing a week or so again, is now back within striking distance of the all-time high, which is truly remarkable. So at the close of the week the Dow rose another 126 points or 0.79%, the Nasdaq was only up a smidge, rising 0.08%, while the S&P 500 gained another 9 points to 1,839 for another 0.5% gain.
– In Europe, stocks were higher after the French and German GDPs beat expectations, rising 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. While these are still incredibly anaemic growth rates, the fact they weren’t as bad than expected means they were good. So continental bourses ripped higher with the Dax up 0.68%, CAC up 0.63%, while in Spain the IBEX 35 rose 0.34%. In Italy, the new government got a big vote of confidence with the FTSE MIB up 1.62%. In the UK, the FTSE eked up just 0.07%.
– Locally, the March SPI 200 contracts of the ASX rose 44 points to 5351 bid – right back at the high of December. On the Bonds, the 3’s and 10’s sold off 4 and 4.5 points respectively to sit at 96.98 (3.02%) and 95.905 (4.095%).
– On global FX markets, the US dollar lost further ground with USDJPY closing the weak under 102 at 101.77, the pound’s rise continues unabated and it closed the week at 1.6745, while the euro briefly traded above 1.37 but closed at 1.3691. The Aussie also was higher, closing the week at 0.9030.
– On commodity markets, Gold’s rally continued rising through the 200 day, moving average fairly easily up $18.60 on the day to $1318.30. Nymex crude seems stuck around $100 while Dr Copper closed at $3.32 lb. Corn rose 1.08%, Wheat was 0.5% higher while Soybeans fell 0.5%.
It’s President’s Day in the US and Family Day in Canada, so two big markets are out.
Locally though, on the data front the Westpac Leading Index is out today along with New Motor Vehicle sales while the Japanese industrial production is the only other major data over the next 24 hours.