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Good morning, Australia!

Craig James
Friday, December 21, 2018

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Howd’y, USA

The leading index rose 0.2% in November (forecasting +0.1%). The Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index fell from +12.9 to +9.4 in December (forecast +15). And new claims for unemployment insurance rose 8,000 in the past week to 214,000 (forecast 216,000). Durable goods orders data is released, with revised economic growth, personal income/spending, consumer confidence and the Kansas Fed manufacturing index. There is a scheduled CNBC TV interview with Federal Reserve president John Williams.  

US share markets fell as investors continued to digest the Federal Reserve decision. Worries about a possible Government shutdown also weighed on sentiment. Weak sales data and earnings forecasts dragged shares lower including Accenture, Carnival Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Conagra Brands. With an hour of trade to go, the Dow Jones was down 350 points (or 1.5%) after being down 679 points. The S&P500 index was down by 1.1%. The Nasdaq index lost 84 points or 1.3%.

US treasuries fell on Thursday (yields higher) as investors mull the latest Federal Reserve rates decision. US 2-year yields rose 3 points to 2.67% and US 10-year yields rose by 1 point to 2.79%. 

Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1380 to US$1.1485 and was near US$1.1470 in late US trade. The Aussie rose from US70.85 cents to US71.45 cents and was near US71.25 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen lifted from 112.25 yen per US dollar to JPY110.95 and was near JPY111.15 in late US trade.

Global oil prices fell 5% on Thursday. Weaker equities markets are weighing on sentiment in commodity markets. Also US crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for US crude futures, rose by 1.85 million barrels in the week through Dec. 18, traders said, citing data from market intelligence firm Genscape. Brent crude fell by US$2.89 or 5.0% to US$54.35 a barrel and the US Nymex price fell by US$2.29 or 4.8% to US$45.88 a barrel.

Bonjour, Europe

European share markets fell on Thursday. Declines were broad-based. Some analysts cite disappointment at the US Federal Reserve rates decision. Shares in Airbus fell 4.4% after the Le Monde newspaper reported the United States had opened an investigation into allegations of corruption. The pan-European STOXX600 index fell by 1.5% with the UK FTSE down by 0.8% and the German Dax index was lower by 1.4%. 

Top of the morning, London

In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto fell by 2.0% with BHP down by 2.6%. Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange. Metals fell by up to 0.8% with aluminium down the most but lead rose by 0.5% and tin rose by 0.3%.

The gold futures price rose by US$11.50 an ounce or 0.9% to a near 6-month high of $1,267.90 an ounce. The spot gold price was trading near US$1,262 an ounce in late US trade. Iron ore rose by US$1.75 or 2.5% to US$72.15 a tonne. 

G’day, Australia

The detailed labour force data for November is released.

Have a great day, Australia!

Published: Friday, December 21, 2018


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