Australian investors have a brief lull today as many regional markets continue Lunar New Year celebrations ahead of the Presidents’ Day holiday in the US tonight. Bond markets remain under pressure and the corporate reporting season rolls on. Australian wages data due later in the week gives a local flavour to the dominant market driver – emerging inflation.

Widespread predictions of increasing volatility as markets adapt to higher interest rates means the potential for sharp moves remains. Friday night trading in Europe saw strong gains for shares. US trading was surprisingly calm and orderly, and volumes dropped away across both continents. A long anticipated strengthening of the US dollar contributed to a perception of rational market response.

In Japan and the US a clear pick up in sales and earnings is evident in the overall analysis of results. The local reporting season will cross the half way point tomorrow and indications of strengthening growth are already in.

Eleven top 200 Australian companies report today. Two stand out as reads on both individual health and the broader economy. Analysts will closely examine Brambles’ report as an indication of global activity and local engagement while Seek’s numbers will offer indication of the health of jobs markets and regional expansion.

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