Better than expected retail sales data in the UK overnight sparked a share market rally that echoed into US trading. The Pound and Euro added to recent gains, the US dollar slipped and metals shook off recent weakness. The Dow and S&P 500 indices hit new records. Asia Pacific markets are set for opening gains, although higher local currencies and slew of global manufacturing and services activity reads tonight may see a more cautious close.

The weaker US dollar helped lift gold and silver prices. However the outperformance of aluminium, zinc and nickel point to increasing confidence in the industrial outlook. Curiously bond markets rallied alongside the pro-growth share and commodity moves.

Japanese inflation data released this morning extends the recent run of improving macroeconomic data and could fuel further gains for the Nikkei after its break above 23,000 this week. The Australian index could be held back by digestion issues after this week’s quarterly futures expiry, an Australian dollar approaching 73 US cents and the ongoing weight of the inquiry into the finance sector.