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EU turns up heat as worries return

Solving the market puzzle is unusually hard today. News flow and market action are stirring conflicting currents. European Council president Tusk turned a blowtorch on “no-plan Brexiteers” and US president Trump re-raised shutdown and trade concerns. However a stronger US dollar and rising commodity prices may push Asia Pacific investors in the other direction.

The increase in uncertainty drew a cautious response from European and American investors, and bond yields and shares edged lower. The clashing market drivers come as investors wrestle with company reporting seasons around the world and most of Asia remains on holiday. This could mean thin trading volumes and a higher risk of unpredictable moves across the region today.

The lower Australian dollar and surging iron ore prices could draw attention. The Australia 200 index is sitting just above the technically important 6,000 level, and any gains today may see underweight investors forced back into the market. US indices were highly influenced by results announcements, with pressure on tech giant Alphabet a major factor. Local investors may see a similar effect.

Announcements this morning showed IDP Education and property group Mirvac beat consensus forecasts in the first half of the financial year. Engineers Downer EDI unveiled a return to profitability and lifted guidance on full year earnings. However power utility AGL saw a modest decline in revenues exacerbated by significant hedging losses. It’s a coin toss.

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