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Caution turns to fear

Investor sentiment swung lower in overnight trading after China unveiled a tariff response and specific issues in US tech shares sunk the sector. Gold and bonds rallied and oil plummeted as growth fears plagued markets. Currency market reactions were more measured, but the safe haven Yen outperformed commodity exposed currencies like the Australian dollar.

White House twitter attacks on Amazon and worries that Tesla will miss yet another production deadline sparked a general move out of technology stocks. The selling spread across the sector, and the broader market, although the Nasdaq still performed worst among major indices. Stretched equity valuations in Europe and the US have investors nervous and the “pile on” selling overnight points to vulnerability to panic.

Bonds yields have fallen to levels last seen before the February inflation scare. Support for gold is partially inspired by a weaker US dollar, but fear fuelled the rally. US manufacturing underperformed in March according to the ISM, but the prices component showed renewed life.

The RBA is expected to maintain interest rates and a soothingly optimistic outlook at its monthly meeting today. Investors will see a full week of macro data. Highlights include China Caixin PMIs mid-week and US non-farm payrolls on Friday night.

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