In the absence of news on the trade dispute risk markets reverted overnight. European shares edged lower, US shares rose. Oil rose on surprising usage data, and the British Pound fell as the government sought to suspend Brexit debate. However bond markets and gold remained firm, a sign that sentiment is still fragile. A single announcement, headline or tweet could change the market mood in an instant.
US oil inventories fell by 10 million barrels this week, and stores of petroleum and diesel fell. The news took traders by surprise. Crude rebounded from recent weakness, and is adding to overnight gains this morning.
The British Pound dropped more than a US cent on news that the Queen granted the government’s request to prorogue parliament until two weeks before the Brexit on October 31. While some see it as inevitable, moves by opposing parties to delay the split with continental Europe muddied recent trading. A clean exit in just over two months is now priced into forex markets.
On the second last day of reporting season Australian supermarket giant Woolworths delivered a 7.2% increase in profits and lifted its dividend. The headline result of a 56% profit lift was driven by the sale of its petrol business. Tech stocks may come under pressure after language tech group Appen missed forecasts, and data centre operator NextDC reported a larger loss than expected.