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Pause for reflection

After yielding briefly to its inner animal spirit yesterday, the stock market looks likely to follow last night’s US lead and pause to await more evidence on current macro themes this morning.

US average hourly earnings data due for release on Friday is likely to be a key focus for traders. Rising wage growth triggered the major sell-off a month ago as concern mounted about higher interest rates. The consensus is that year on year growth will notch back to 2.8% in February from 2.9% in January. If this proves correct, it will remove a short-term impediment for buyers.

Markets are also adopting a wait and see stance on US tariff policy, which is clearly a very fluid situation. While markets moved yesterday to reduce the risk premium for a tariff related growth headwind, caution remains. This is evidenced by last night’s pause in the stock market and by a weaker US Dollar and stronger gold price.

The energy sector may join those on pause today after good gains yesterday. This follows a steady night for the oil price as traders wait on weekly US production and inventory data.

Australian GDP data will be released this morning and consumer spending is likely to be the key focus for markets. A rebound is anticipated after a limp performance in the September quarter. However, yesterday’s miss on retail sales is not encouraging. Further softness in consumer spending, would make an RBA rate hike even less likely and be a potential negative for the Aussie Dollar.

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