The US dollar pulled back for the first time in three sessions after weaker durable goods data overnight. Undeterred share investors pushed the S&P 500 to within 1% of its record high in an eighth straight gain. Crude oil rallied to a five month high and industrial metals lifted, potentially reflecting a shift from a Goldilocks view to a more growth-oriented stance.
US stocks are in focus as the quarterly earnings season gets under way later in the week. Forecasts of an overall earnings fall of around 4% jar with elevated share prices that reflect an earnings multiple of around 17.5 times. Outlook statements could once again dominate investor thinking. The key questions revolve around a previously predicted stronger second half of 2019.
Asia Pacific futures markets point to positive opening moves. Australian home lending data for February speaks directly to the debate over interest rates, and may have a direct impact on bank shares. Consensus forecasts for a 0.5% lift in overall lending is comprised of a 1% lift in the value of owner occupied against a fall of 1% in investment lending. A weaker release may weigh on the Australian dollar.
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