Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures little changed at 7,425.00
  • Dow Average down 0.3% to 34,220.36
  • Aussie up 0.5% to 0.7454 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 5.4bps to 2.7251%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 4bps to 2.55%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 7bps to 3.08%
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,966.69
  • Brent futures up 6.7% to $105.08/bbl

Economic Events

  • 10:30am: (AU) April Westpac Consumer Conf Index, prior 96.6
  • 10:30am: (AU) April Westpac Consumer Conf SA MoM, prior -4.2%

Stocks closed down as a surge in oil above $100 a barrel reignited inflation worries, while big banks dropped ahead of the start of the financial earnings season on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 erased gains that were earlier driven by speculation that price pressures could be near a peak. JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be the first among the top six banks to report results, with Wall Street focused on how volatility triggered by the war in Ukraine affected investment-banking and trading operations. Treasury 10-year yields slumped after touching the highest since December 2018.

The jump in crude alongside other commodities has fanned inflation fears, which could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more aggressively. Gasoline costs drove half of the monthly increase in the U.S. consumer-price index in March. Still, core inflation increased less than forecast, due in large part to the biggest drop in used-vehicle prices since 1969 and a deceleration in price growth in other merchandise categories.

Other News

Douglas Smith is a competitive guy. So when he turned his attention to the vegetable garden behind his home, he committed to it. So much, in fact, that his hobby grew to epic proportions.

Smith tended to his plants and produce until they became colossally outsize, landing him in what he calls “the competitive vegetable scene.”

The British gardener has harvested a nearly 7-pound tomato, a 624-pound pumpkin and a 20-foot-tall sunflower. Recently, though, he has shifted his focus from size to sum. It’s been a grand success.

Twice in a row, Smith broke the Guinness World Record for the most tomatoes grown on a single stem. Originally, he shattered the previous record of 488 tomatoes — which had been in place for more than 10 years — after he grew 839 cherry tomatoes on one stem in September.

Then, on March 18, Guinness World Records declared that Smith had actually beaten his own world record, growing 1,269 tomatoes on a separate, single stem.

(Washington Post)