Australian jobs and inflation data a key driver as overseas markets plateau

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Jan 19, 2017, in Features

With little in the way of firm leads from overseas markets the ASX is likely to be shaped by domestic data, particularly in relation to the release of consumer inflation and employment figures.

While Fed Chair Janet Yellen addressed the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco the comments that inflation was pushing up towards the 2% band and the likelihood of a few interest rate rises per year until the end of 2019 was not new information.

Consequently, it wasn’t surprising to see little movement in the Dow as it treaded water slightly below the previous day’s close of 19,826 points.

The NASDAQ was also relatively flat.

The only significant stock specific trend to emerge was an across-the-board decline in retail stocks with the likes of Target, Wal-Mart and Macy’s all finishing in negative territory. Target was hardest hit as its shares came off more than 5% after the company flagged weaker than expected fourth-quarter earnings.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% regaining some of the previous day’s losses, while the German Dax rallied 0.5% to close at 11,600 points.

On the commodities front, crude continued its decline, falling from the previous day’s close of US$52.48 to a low of US$50.91 before recovering slightly as markets drew to a close to finish down circa 2%.

Gold gave up some of the previous day’s gains as global markets settled, but it remained above the US$1200 per ounce mark after hitting US$1218 per ounce in early trading.

Aside from zinc, there was little movement across base metals and iron ore was relatively flat.

However zinc moved from the previous day’s close of US$1.22 per pound to US$1.25 per pound, close to the 30 day high, which isn’t far short of the long-term peak that was struck in December.

As US markets drew to a close the Australian dollar was fetching just over US$0.75

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