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need2know: Futures point to lower open

Local shares are poised to open lower after lacklustre trade on Wall St. The Aussie edged higher as the greenback eased.

What you need2know

SPI futures down 12pts or 0.2% to 5069

AUD is fetching 75.44 US cents, 85.42 Japanese yen, 67.28 Euro cents and 52.89 British pence 

On Wall St, Dow +0.1%, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq -0.1%

European markets were closed for the Easter break


In Asia, Shanghai Composite -0.7%, Topix +1.2%

Spot gold +0.2%  at $US1219.98 at 4.19pm New York time

Brent crude -0.4% to $US40.28 at 3.52pm New York time

Comex copper +0.6%

What's on today

The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee publishes a statement from its March 23 meeting. Housing risks, bank capital and "Brexit" may have been among the topics discussed by the panel. 9.30am in London.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi begins a four-day visit to the US, stopping in Nevada, Chicago, Harvard University and Washington, where he will attend the Nuclear Security Summit. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan begins a five-day trip to US where he will attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

Overseas data: Japan household spending (Feb.), Japan unemployment (Feb.), Japan retail trade (Feb.), US S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home-price index (Jan.), US consumer confidence (March)

Fed speakers: Janet Yellen at the Economic Club of New York, San Francisco Fed boss John Williams.


The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.4 per cent after the biggest weekly increase since November 6.

"The dollar is really not your best bet right now," Vassili Serebriakov, a foreign-exchange strategist at BNP Paribas in New York, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "Every time you have the dollar rising, concerns about China devaluation, concerns about emerging-market growth, concerns about commodity markets - those start to resurface and that's what we think is going to stop the Fed from hiking."

Traders will watch a speech by Fed chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday for clues about the central bank's rate path, followed by monthly labor data later in the week. The dollar's resilience may depend on how the economy weathers turbulence from overseas. The currency has slumped more than 4 per cent since the end of January on speculation US policy makers will refrain from tightening rates amid a dimming outlook for global growth.


Gold slipped as the dollar's rally undermined demand for the metal as an alternative investment asset.

Copper futures had the biggest gain in six sessions as economic indicators in the US and China boosted demand prospects, while a weaker dollar made commodities cheaper in other currencies.

Oil futures fell 7 cents to settle at $39.39 a barrel in New York, amid speculation that a meeting of crude-producing countries next month won't ease a global supply glut. Rigs targeting oil in the US fell by 15 to 372, according to Baker Hughes. More than 150 have been parked since the start of the year.

As crude has soared more than 50 per cent since February 11, the number of bets on increased prices has barely budged. Instead, the upward pressure on prices appears to have come from traders cashing out of bearish wagers at an unprecedented pace. The liquidation of short positions during the last seven weeks covered by data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission was the largest on record.

United States

US stocks were little changed in light trading for a second session, following their first weekly decline in six, as investors assessed economic data for clues on the course for interest rates.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased for the first time in four days. The gauge on Thursday halted the longest stretch of weekly gains since November after Federal Reserve officials stressed in comments that rates will rise as soon as data warrant. This week will provide ample insight on the state of the economy, with reports due on employment, manufacturing, housing and consumer confidence.

The main US benchmark rose less than 0.1 per cent to 2037.06 at 4pm in New York, after weaving between gains and losses. Many markets in Europe remained shut Monday for the Easter holiday.

"It's Easter Monday, so the vast majority of Europe is closed, as is Hong Kong - that has things relatively quiet," said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York. "You have Yellen speaking tomorrow, then Dudley on Thursday and the big employment and ISM manufacturing numbers on Friday. There's really no impetus to get people to do something definitively before that data."

With investors scouring data, a report today showed personal spending barely increased in February and the prior month's advance was revised down as Americans saved more of their incomes. A separate measure showed contracts to purchase previously owned homes rebounded more than forecast in February as sales picked up in most of the US Data on Friday showed the US economy grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated.


European markets remained closed on Monday for the Easter break.

Last Thursday, the Stoxx 50 slid 1.8 per cent, the FTSE 100 fell 1.5 per cent, the CAC shed 2.1 per cent and the DAX tumbled 1.7 per cent.

What happened before the Easter break

The big four banks were hammered on Thursday, dragging the entire market into the red, thanks to ANZ's debt blowout and a dive in commodity prices.   The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index each closed down 1.9 per cent for the shortened Easter week, to 5084.2 points and 5151.6 points respectively.