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International flows dominate

Oil prices slumped and industrial metals slid as recent rallies petered out. Combined with flat to lower trading in shares in Europe and the US many local investors would expect a down day. Instead futures markets are pointing to gains for the Australian 200 and the Nikkei 225 in trading today.

The Australian index is going alone at the moment. Almost universal gains across the Asia Pacific region yesterday provided a sharp contrast to the 20 point fall in the Antipodean market. Higher futures market volumes indicate institutional and potentially international participation in local trading. This could see today’s session once again dominated by top-down activity. A relatively low divergence between sectoral performances supports this market thesis.

The release overnight of the minutes of the most recent Fed OMC meeting neatly frame a key issue and the next likely major market event. Two areas of internal disagreement stand out. While indications of a September start to stimulus reduction remain valid this is an area of contention, as are optimistic inflation forecasts.

The release of US employment data tomorrow night speaks to both themes. The number of non-farm payroll jobs created in June will stand proxy an indicator of the strength of the economy, and wages growth data to inflation. Readings out of kilter with forecasts of 175,000 new jobs and an annualised lift in wages of 2.6% may spark significant moves.

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