US celebrates Presidents’ Day while UK says stay away

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Feb 21, 2017, in Features

With US markets closed, Australian investors will be looking to Europe for leads. However, the focus in that region is likely to be more on what is happening on the fringes rather than actual market movements.

In London, as the US was celebrating Presidents’ Day there were large demonstrations as moves strengthened to prevent President Trump’s visit to the UK.

In mainland Europe, the Greek debt crisis and the country’s struggling economy which features large unemployment and poverty is back in focus.

Once again, the IMF will take on arbitrary type role, Germany is likely to strongly resist further bailouts, and all this is happening on the eve of the April French presidential election.

With too many variables in this mix, attention is likely to turn to commodity markets which had an excellent run overnight.

Copper pushed back up towards the US$2.75 per pound mark, just shy of the relatively long-term high struck last week.

Nickel hit a 2017 high of US$5.02 per pound. Zinc and lead also put an end to their losing streak, both up by more than 2%.

Iron ore rallied strongly, gaining more than 2% to finish at US$92.34 per tonne.

Both gold and oil were relatively unmoved.

Given the strong performances of base metals and iron ore, as well as the release of BHP Billiton’s interim result for fiscal 2017, much of the focus may be on mining stocks. Diversified gold and base metals producer, Independence Group, is also due to release its results today.

There is also activity in the mining services sector with Monadelphous Group leading the way.

There is action in the energy sector as well with Caltex and Oil Search both delivering their results for the 12 months to December 31, 2016.

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