Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures little changed at 7,419.00
  • Dow Average down 0.5% to 35,213.12
  • Aussie down 0.5% to 0.7238 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield little changed at 1.3491%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 2bps to 0.26%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 3bps to 1.19%
  • Gold spot little changed at $1,791.72
  • Brent futures down 1.2% to $71.41/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11am: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 0.25% 2024 Bonds
  • 11:30am: (AU) July Retail Sales MoM, est. -2.5%, prior -1.8%
  • 12:30pm: (AU) RBA’s Richards, Thompson at Select Committee

Asian stocks are set for a cautious start Friday as traders weigh hawkish Federal Reserve comments ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium and geopolitical tension following blasts in Afghanistan.
Futures were little changed for Japan and Hong Kong but lower for Australia. U.S. shares fell from records, in part as some Fed officials said the time to start tapering stimulus is near. Meanwhile, deadly blasts outside Kabul airport stoked tensions as the U.S. evacuates the area. The dollar climbed.
Treasury yields edged higher, with traders awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the symposium Friday for insight into how the central bank plans to pare bond purchases.
The focus in Asia will also be on Chinese technology stocks, which are sliding again on disappointing earnings and Beijing’s curbs on private industries. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index retreated for the first time in five days.

Other News

They think they’re being sea-blocked. Perhaps few things would induce panic more than getting approached by a highly venomous serpent while underwater. However, Australian scientists urge divers not to be alarmed: Sea snakes apparently mean us no ill will and are probably just trying to — wait for it — mate with us. According to a slithery study by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, sea snake “attacks” on humans apparently “result from mistaken identity during sexual interactions.” The frisky findings, published Thursday in the Scientific Reports journal, are based on insights accumulated by researcher Tim Lynch during his 158 encounters with the highly toxic olive sea snakes while diving in the Great Barrier Reef. While Lynch conducted the underwater fact-finding missions in the mid-1990s, he didn’t get the chance to publish his discoveries until the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. “You can blame COVID for this,” said Richard Shine, a professor of biology at Macquarie University who helped turn Lynch’s salacious serpent thesis into a bona fide science paper, Vice reported. The resulting dissertation, dubbed “the first quantitative evidence on sea snake ‘attacks,’” argues that incidents of unprovoked aggression on humans were actually “misdirected courtship responses,” as they almost always occurred during the winter breeding season from May to August. They also disproportionately involved male snakes, who, during these encounters, would exhibit “courtship” behaviors such as coiling around a diver’s arm. Or, as Shine told the New York Times, “it’s just a lovesick boy looking for a girlfriend and making a rather foolish mistake.” The study authors wrote that the “agitated rapid approaches by males, easily interpreted as ‘attacks,’ often occurred after a courting male lost contact with a female he was pursuing, after interactions between rival males, or when a diver tried to flee from a male.” They added that the latter instance “may inadvertently mimic the responses of female snakes to courtship, encouraging males to give chase.” Those patterns seemed to indicate that the randy reptiles were mistaking divers for either a potential mate or a rival male.