It was a broadly rangebound session for US equity markets, with the major bourses posting very modest losses as investors took a breather and some risk off the table after Monday’s big rally to record levels. Still, the S&P 500 (which finished 0.1% lower) was able to hit fresh intra-day all-time highs in the first half of the session in the mid-4080s. The Dow dropped 0.3%, the Nasdaq 100 just over 0.1% and the Russell 2000 just over 0.2%
The US JOLTS job openings report for February was strong, at 7367 (vs 6900 expected, 7099 prior) – the highest since January 2019. The quit rate was unchanged at 2.3%. The IBD/TIPP economic optimism survey index increased by 1 point to 56.4 - the highest reading since February 2020, and further evidence of the strength of the economic recovery.
Commodities, Brent crude oil futures rose 1.0% to $67.75, copper fell 0.8%, iron ore rose 2.5% to $170.25, and gold rose 0.8%. The bi-monthly GDT dairy auction resulted in an overall price rise of 0.3%, with whole milk powder unchanged (compared to earlier futures market predictions of a 4% fall).
Overnight Currency Ranges
AUD/USD 0.7606 0.7669
EUR/USD 1.1794 1.1878
GBP/USD 1.3802 1.3919
USD/JPY 109.67 110.55
NZD/USD 0.7008 0.7069
USD/CAD 1.2517 1.2583
USD/CNH 6.5403 6.5650
AUD/JPY 83.81 84.46
AUD/NZD 1.0837 1.0875
Another quiet day ahead in Asia with regional attention shifting to the U.S for tomorrow mornings FOMC minutes which reflect discussions that took place during the March meeting. Attention could be paid to any sign of increased division on policy settings given the improving US growth outlook. In March, 7 of 18 participants anticipated a rate hike in 2023, up from 5 in December.
The AUD/USD traded to a low of 0.7606 before recovering and making new highs of 0.7665. Offering interest is still expected toward 0.7750 while demand remains thin but will likely emerge if we see a dip to the 0.7560 region.
Event Risk Data Today
Australia: The March AiG PCI has remained well above 50 on the housing market surge.
NZ: March ANZ commodity prices will by supported by the dairy price spike.
China: March foreign reserves have moderated recently on softer gold prices (market f/c: 3178.00bn).
US: The February trade balance is set to reveal that the deficit has widened further on the strength of domestic demand (market f/c: 70.5bn). February consumer credit is expected to rise on low rates and rising optimism (market f/c: 2.8bn). The FOMC meeting minutes will be published, with the focus on the breadth of opinions across the Committee. Finally, the FOMC’s Evans and Kaplan will speak.