Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.9% to 7,298.00
  • Dow Average up 1.2% to 33,390.97
  • Aussie up 0.2% to 0.6744 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 10.4bps to 3.9517%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 3.2 bps to 3.60%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 4.1 bps to 3.90%
  • Gold spot up 1.1% to $1,856.48
  • Brent futures up 1.3% to $85.83/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Feb. Melbourne Institute Inflation, prior 0.9%
  • 11:00: (AU) Feb. Melbourne Institute Inflation, prior 6.4%
  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$500 Million 0.5% 2026 Bonds

US stocks ended the week on a high note driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve won’t raise interest rates beyond peak levels already priced in.

A rally in the S&P 500 Friday helped snap a three-week losing streak. The Nasdaq 100 scored its best day since early February. Sentiment remained upbeat despite a report showing resilience in the service sector as some investors wagered the impact of the Fed’s hikes on the economy would be delayed. A measure of prices paid by service providers showed costs rising at a slower pace, which was cheered by traders.

Bond yields rose for the week though Treasuries richened in a Friday rally, with the 10-year yield hovering around 3.96%. A benchmark of the dollar had its worst week since mid-January, ending four consecutive weeks of gains.

Other News

Move over Cocaine Bear, ‘Cocaine Hippos’ are taking over the spotlight in one South American country.

Colombia wants to move about 70 hippopotamuses that live near Pablo Escobar’s former ranch to two other countries as part of a plan to control their booming population.

The animals, descendants of four imported illegally from Africa by the late drug lord in the 1980s – have spread far beyond the Hacienda Napoles ranch, about 125 miles from Bogota along the Magdalena River.

Escobar’s ranch and so-called “cocaine hippos” have become a tourist attraction in the years since the kingpin was killed by police in December 1993. When his ranch was abandoned, the hippos survived and reproduced in local rivers and favorable climatic conditions.

Environmental authorities estimate there are some 130 hippos in the area in Antioquia province and their population could reach 400 in within the next decade.

If all goes as planned the hippos would be transported to Mexico and India. The idea to move them out has been forming for more than a year, said Lina Marcela de los Ríos Morales, director of animal protection and welfare at Antioquia’s environment ministry. The plan is to focus on the hippos living in rivers surrounding the ranch, not those inside the ranch because they are in a controlled environment there.