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Markets hold, Coles plays host

Markets hold, Coles plays host

Currencies, shares and bonds traded in reduced ranges overnight ahead of interest rate decisions this week from the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England. On balance the moves were pro-growth. Bonds fell slightly, and tech stocks led markets to modest gains, but weaker volumes illustrated a lack of commitment. Unsurprisingly futures markets are pointing to a muted Asia Pacific opening.

Movement in commodities could drive markets today. Iron ore prices slipped 2.5% yesterday after a stellar run higher. Crude oil fell around 1.5% overnight. Continued weakness may put pressure on commodity currencies like the Australian dollar, as well as the Energy and Materials sectors.

Data releases today are housing flavoured. Australian house price forecasts for the first quarter of 2019 indicate a decline of 2.6%, translating to a year on year decline of 6.9%. In China investors the questions is whether May numbers will follow April’s 0.62% lift. Traders will hone in on the influence of house prices on consumer behaviour and the implications for economic growth.

Australian investors will today receive more information about the state of retail. Supermarket giant Coles is hosting its first investor day. Ahead of a full day of presentations the grocer released a new corporate strategy. While $1 billion in cost savings over the next three years may impress shareholders market reactions may focus on tepid growth projections.

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