Today looks like being a relatively low key trading day for Australian markets as investors mark time in advance of what could be a big news week to follow. The S&P/ASX 200 index has nudged past the 5 year high today. However, it's not certain that this move will itself lead to much momentum on the day. Traders will may prefer to wait on next week’s news before deciding on whether significantly higher valuations are justified Traders will have a watching brief on this morning’s release on the profitability of Industrial companies in China. This may influence sentiment on the region leading Chinese stock market where recent improvements in economic growth and exports are expected to help corporate profits. Progress on lifting the US debt ceiling will be a key news focus next week. There is little evidence that share markets have built much risk premium into valuations for this event. Investors appear to be prepared to ride through the noise of political brinkmanship at this stage. Coming days will also see the release of quite a lot of data that will add to the market’s understanding of recent economic growth. In the US the Fed has clearly stated that it will be data driven in approaching its decision on tightening monetary policy. Tonight’s consumer spending data, next week’s international PMI figures and US employment numbers next Friday all loom as potentially significant data points. Next week’s release of Australian retail sales and building approvals data will be a key focus for the prospects of another RBA rate cut in November or December. Japan’s decision on economic stimulus and its sales tax could influence international equity market confidence particularly if the government is more aggressive than currently expected.

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