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Central bank support and stronger data offset virus fears

Central bank support and stronger data offset virus fears

Stronger German GDP and US retail sales alongside expected central bank accommodation supported markets in Friday night trading. Uncertainty around the COVID 19 causing virus limited enthusiasm, and will likely affect trading again this week. Regional markets are set for a muted days trading ahead of the US Presidents’ Day holiday tonight.

Bonds and gold continue to flash warning signals. Gold is trading near seven-year highs in US dollar terms. Ten-year bonds rallied across Europe and the Americas on Friday night, potentially in anticipation of further Fed and ECB rate cuts. On Sunday authorities in China promised more economic support, including corporate tax cuts and lower government expenses.

Industrial commodities sent mixed signals. Copper and aluminium fell, but crude oil rose. The demand outlook remains the key question, and the impact of the viral outbreak the immediate risk. This morning’s release of daily infection data in China will receive close scrutiny.

Asia Pacific futures markets are pointing to modest opening losses after two weeks of gains. Japan GDP is forecast to fall 3.8% for the fourth quarter after a lift in sales tax hit consumer spending.

The Australian company reporting season enters its busiest week, kicking off with Bendigo Bank, Brambles, and QBE this morning. Bendigo lifted its income from operations and interest margins, but reported a 28% decline in headline profit. Shares in Bendigo Bank are in trading halt as it beds down a $300 million capital raising to bolster its balance sheet and fund expansion.

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