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Trade optimism to spur markets

The extension of trade talks in Washington into the weekend and positive comments from the US president could see gains for Asia Pacific investors today. Currency and interest rate markets are calm but crude oil and base metals made further gains on Friday night, pointing to a more robust demand environment. Although a positive start is expected the week holds plenty of potential to drive or derail markets.

With a March 1 deadline for the imposition of increased tariffs fast approaching markets will remain highly sensitive to trade related headlines. Brexit negotiations are picking up, and the British Pound will stay high on forex traders’ radar. A huge week of data that includes US housing, French inflation and Chinese PMIs may also influence action.

The Australian corporate reporting season comes to an end this week, with around 40 major companies revealing results. Reports so far today are mixed. Bluescope Steel delivered a better than expected half year, and QBE Insurance swung back into the black. Shareholders in Lend Lease may be less impressed, as the company announced plans to divest its troubled engineering unit.

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