Key Data for the Week
Key economic data released this week:
The Australian sharemarket closed lower on Friday, led by losses in the Real Estate sector.
The big four banks weighed on the Financials sector; ANZ lost 1.0%, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac each slipped 0.8% and NAB slid 0.4%. The Consumer Discretionary sector was boosted by Woolworths and Wesfarmers, after they climbed 0.7% and 0.3% respectively, while Telstra added 0.3% in the Telecommunications space.
Crown Resorts Ltd (CWN) has continued its debt reduction strategy, selling its interests in Alon Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment Corp, Ellerston, Crownbet and two floors of its Sydney Hotel Resort. CWN gained $0.40, to close 3.2% higher, at $12.85.
Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG) sold down its 11.3% interest in ASX listed toll road company, Macquarie Atlas Roads Ltd (MQA), on Thursday night at a price of $6.00/security. MQG closed 0.5% lower, while MQA ended the session down 3.8%.
The Australian futures market points to a 0.48% rise today, driven by positive overseas markets on Friday.
European shares were mixed on Friday. H&M shares fell 13% after the world's second largest fashion retailer reported an unexpected drop in quarterly sales. Banks continued to face selling pressure, following the central banks of both the Eurozone and the UK, deciding to keep their benchmark interest rate unchanged. The broad based STOXX Europe 600 fell 0.2%, while the German DAX rose 0.3% and the UK FTSE 100 gained 0.6%.
US sharemarkets climbed to fresh record highs on Friday on optimism surrounding US tax legislation. The tax plan was finalised after Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker pledged their support for the bill, with US lawmakers expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday. By the end of the session, the Dow Jones had climbed 0.6%, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ gained 0.9% and 1.2% respectively.
We’ve been soaking up the outstanding returns on the US equity market since Trump’s election victory, with the S&P 500 index up 19.5% for 2017.
One of the key features of the Republican victory was that they gained control of both houses of Congress, making the passing of proposed legislative changes smoother.
However, this could change if recent polls of the mid term elections is a guide, where those polled prefer a Democratic led Congress.
The poll follows the upset victory to the Democrat party in the Senate seat of Alabama, which was the first election of a Democrat to the Senate in Alabama since 1992. A state Trump won with 62% of the vote last year!
Trump has some key reforms he needs to get passed to ensure he delivers on his election promises, and spurs the economic growth he believes is possible.
The Republican party will be trying hard to get as much passed as possible, before the balance of power changes.
Should you wish to discuss this or any other Investment related matter, please contact our Investment Services Team on (02) 4928 8500.
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