Key Data for the Week
Key economic data released this week:
The benchmark ASX 200 index closed up 0.52% on Friday, to finish the week, up 0.65% its third straight week of gains following two weeks of major losses.
The big four banks all closed higher on Friday, with NAB up 0.87%, ANZ up 0.71% and Commonwealth Bank up 0.37%. Westpac gained 0.49% despite announcing the company has received notification of a class action over its superannuation products.
The Health Care sector also rallied, buoyed by biotech giant CSL, which added 0.98% and Ramsay Health Care, which rose 1.38%.
The Australian futures market points to a 0.11% fall today.
The major US indices were mixed on Friday night; the Dow Jones gained 0.26%, the S&P 500 added 0.09%, but the NASDAQ fell 0.17%. However, over the course of the week all the indices were positive. The Energy and Materials sectors were the strongest performers, up 0.52% and 0.48% respectively.
The Information Technology sector gave up 0.15% after media reports of antitrust probes into Facebook and Alphabet. Facebook fell 1.79% and Alphabet gave up 0.48%. Elsewhere in the Information Technology sector, Intel bucked the trend, rising 1.64% for the day.
European stocks also rose; the broad based STOXX Europe 600 gained 0.32%, while the German DAX and UK’s FTSE 100 lifted 0.54% and 0.15% respectively. The Materials and Health Care sectors were the largest gainers, with CRH and Novartis adding 0.33% and 0.82% respectively.
Employment data out of the US on Friday contained both positive and negative news.
Non-farm jobs growth of 130,000 was less than expected and down on the average monthly gains this year of 158,000. This is down sharply from 2018’s monthly pace of 223,000 and confirms a slowing jobs market that is not being helped by the ongoing trade war between US and China.
On the other hand, the unemployment rate remains at a 50 year low and wages grew at 3.2%, which is well above the average for the last five years and should continue to support the all-important US consumer, that is the backbone of the US economy.
The US economy looks like it’s coming off the boil, but still looks strong enough to grind out modest economic growth.
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