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Good morning, Australia

Craig James
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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Howd’y USA

In US economic data, factory orders rose by 0.1% (survey: +0.3%) in January. Ex-transportation orders fell by 0.2%. US share markets were mixed on Tuesday as the US Federal Reserve's two-day interest rate policy meeting kicked-off. The Dow Jones traded up by 195 points during the session, but fell back on Bloomberg reports that US officials are worried that China may be pushing back against US demands in the country’s  ongoing trade talks. But the Wall Street Journal reported that the US-China trade talks were in the final stages with US officials due to fly to Beijing next week. Monster Beverage shares fell by 4.4% after Wells Fargo raised concerns about competitive pressures from rival energy drink Bang. The Dow Jones index fell by 26 points or 0.1%. The S&P500 index fell by 0.01%. But the Nasdaq index rose by 9 points or 0.1%.

US treasuries fell (yields higher) on Tuesday, following German Bunds, as the US Federal Reserve's two-day interest rate policy setting meeting began. US 2-year yields rose by 2 point to 2.47% and US 10-year yields rose by 1 point to 2.62%. 

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro fell from highs of US$1.1361 to lows of US$1.1339 and was near US$1.1354 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar fell from highs of US71.06 cents to lows of US70.84 cents and was near US70.90 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen rose from 111.47 yen per US dollar to JPY111.25 and was near JPY111.38 in late US trade. 

Global oil prices were mixed on Tuesday as concerns over the US-China trade talks cast a shadow over the outlook for global growth and Chinese demand for crude oil. Brent crude rose by US7 cents or 0.1% to US$67.61 a barrel, but the US Nymex price fell by US6 cents or 0.1% to US$59.03 a barrel. 

The US Federal Reserve hands down its interest rate decision on Thursday at 5am AEDT.  

Bonjour, Europe

European share markets rose on Tuesday with the pan-European STOXX600 index up by 0.6%. The STOXX 600 autos and suppliers sector index jumped by 2.4%. Shares of Fiat Chrysler rose by 5.0% after Peugeot (+2.7%) suggested that it was among the options for a merger. Shares of miner Antofagasta (+2.8%) lifted after the company announced a higher-than-expected dividend payout. The German Dax rose by 1.1% and the UK FTSE was up by 0.3%. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto (+0.9%) and BHP (+0.7%) both rose.  

Top of the morning, London

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask for a delay to Britain's planned departure from the EU  when she meets officials at the EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Base metal prices mostly lifted on the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday. Aluminium (+1.2%), zinc (+1.2%) and nickel (+1.0%) advanced, but lead (-0.4%) fell. Aluminium reached a 3-month high after major producer Norsk Hydro was hit by a cyber attack, which disrupted its smelter operations.  

The gold futures price rose by US$5.00 an ounce or 0.4% to $1,306.50 an ounce on Tuesday. The spot gold price was near US$1,306 an ounce in late US trade. Iron ore fell by US85 cents or 1.0% to US$86.95 a tonne on Tuesday. 

G’day, Australia

In Australia, skilled internet job vacancies are issued. The RBA's Assistant Governor Michele Bullock speaks in Perth at 11am AEDT.

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2019


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