Key Data for the Week
Key economic data released this week:
The Australian sharemarket ended the final trading session of the week on a positive note, rising 0.23%, led by gains in the Information Technology sector.
Materials stocks continued to boost the local market; BHP rose 0.3%, Rio Tinto climbed 2.0% and South32 lifted 0.6%, while in the Financials space, the big four banks ended the session mostly weaker, with only Commonwealth Bank recording a gain.
Seven West Media Ltd (SWM) announced it has signed a six-year, $75m p.a. deal with Cricket Australia for domestic free-to-air broadcast rights. SWM gained $0.07, to close 12.6% higher, at $0.58.
The Australian futures market points to a 0.10% fall today, driven by weaker US markets on Friday night.
US sharemarkets ended lower on Friday, dragged down by bank stocks. Despite announcing increased profits, JP Morgan fell 1.7% after their earnings report disappointed analysts, while Wells Fargo and Citigroup lost 3.4% and 1.6% respectively. Overall, the S&P banks index fell 2.6%. The Dow Jones and NASDAQ both lost 0.5%, while the S&P 500 eased 0.3%.
European sharemarkets recorded modest gains on Friday, as the disappointing earnings results by US banks weighed on optimism surrounding global trade. The German DAX rose 0.2%, while the broad based STOXX Europe 600 and UK FTSE 100 both added 0.1% respectively.
March retail sales data out of the US tonight will give an insight into the strength of the US economy.
Personal tax cuts in January should by now be flowing through to household wallets, but the question is whether this extra cash is used for savings, debt repayment or shopping.
Given the heavy reliance on the consumer for economic growth in the US, economists hope that tonight’s retail sales numbers show the consumer is back into spending mode after a few months of being quiet.
Spending was strong in September to November last year as a result of the post hurricane recovery spend, but has since dropped.
It will need to be a strong March retail sales number to make up for the weak January and February numbers, and keep GDP growth rolling along.
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