25 September 2020
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Good morning, Australia

Craig James
7 September 2020

How’dy USA

In US economic data, US non-farm payrolls (employment) rose by 1.371m in August (survey: +1.35m). The jobless rate fell from 10.2% to 8.4% in August (survey: 9.8%). Average hourly earnings were up 0.4% in August (survey: flat) to be up 4.7% on a year ago.

US share markets fell again on Friday, although finishing well off session lows. Concerns about valuations in the technology sector persisted. News reports claimed that Japan's SoftBank Group made significant option purchases in the US stock market. The Dow Jones index fell by 159 points or 0.6% after being down 628 points. The S&P500 index lost 0.8% and the Nasdaq index dropped by 145 points or 1.3%. Over the week, the Dow fell by 1.8%; the S&P 500 fell by 2.3%; and the Nasdaq fell by 3.3%.

US treasury bond prices fell sharply on Friday (yields higher) in response to a sharp fall in the jobless rate in August. But US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said “The recovery is continuing; we do think it will get harder from here." US Treasury will sell $108 billion of 3-year, 10-year and 30-year bonds next week. US 2-year yields rose by 2 points to near 0.147%. And US 10-year yields rose by 10 points to 0.721%. For the week US 2-year yields rose 1 point while US 10-year yields fell almost 1 point.

Bonjour Europe

European share markets fell on Friday with the pan-European STOXX 600 index down by 1.1%. Technology led the falls, down by 1.7%. But banks rose 1.6% after two Spanish banks said they were considering a merger. Basic resources stocks rose 1.6%, underpinned by expectations of higher Chinese demand. The German Dax index slid 1.7%. The UK FTSE index lost 0.9%. But in London trade, shares in Rio Tinto rose by 1.6% and shares in BHP rose by 1.0%.

Hello World!

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1860 to lows near US$1.1780 and was near US$1.1840 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US72.20 cents to highs near US72.95 cents and was near US72.80 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen fell from 106.10 yen per US dollar to JPY106.49 and was near JPY106.20 at the US close.

Global oil prices fell on Friday, pressured by more falls on equity markets. The Brent crude price fell by US$1.41 or 3.2% to US$42.66 a barrel. The US Nymex price lost US$1.60 or 3.9% to US$39.77 a barrel. Over the week, Brent fell by US$2.39 or 5.3%. Nymex fell by US$3.20 or 7.4%.

Base metal prices were mostly higher by up to 2.4% on Friday with copper doing the best. But zinc fell by 1.2%. For the week metals were mixed. Zinc, aluminium and nickel fell by up to 1.5%, led by zinc. Other metals rose to 2.1% with tin doing the best.

The gold futures price fell by US$3.50 or 0.2% to US$1,934.30 an ounce. Spot gold was trading at US$1,932.45 an ounce at the US close. Over the week, gold fell by US$40.60 or 2.1%. Iron ore fell by US$2.10 or 1.6% from 6½-year highs to US$128.70 a tonne. For the week, iron ore rose by US$5.45 or 4.4%.

G’day Australia

In Australia, ANZ job advertisements, the AiGroup services index and RBA credit & debit card lending data are issued. Chinese trade data is due. US financial markets are closed on Monday to observe the Labor Day public holiday.

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