Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.4% to 7,026.00
  • Dow Average down 0.1% to 32,384.47
  • Aussie up 0.8% to 0.6706 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 1.5bps to 3.5469%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 10 bps to 2.91%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 11 bps to 3.30%
  • Gold spot up 0.9% to $1,973.65
  • Brent futures up 0.8% to $78.77/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$800 Million 3.75% 2034 Bonds
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. CPI YoY, est. 7.2%, prior 7.4%

A slide in technology shares halted a three-day advance in US stocks as investors continued to recalibrate bets on the Federal Reserve’s path forward on interest rates. Treasuries drifted lower.
The Nasdaq 100 slumped 0.5% — paring a March advance to 4.7% — with tech stalwarts from Apple Inc. to Alphabet Inc. among the biggest drags.

Tech stocks had found favor in recent weeks with the rotation out of financials following the collapse of three US banks. However, the trade has started to unwind with increased speculation turbulence in the banking sector will be contained.

Two-year Treasury yields edged to just above 4%, while a gauge of the dollar notched its lowest close in eight weeks.

The moves come as investors prepare for a raft of data on the American economy this week, including the central bank’s preferred measure of inflation, which is likely to factor into the Fed’s next rate decision.

Swaps traders have priced in more than a 50% probability the Fed will lift rates by a quarter point at its next meeting, with plans to ease then sharply thereafter. However, several strategists have joined BlackRock Investment Institute in saying markets are wrong in expecting imminent rate cuts.

Other News

Third time’s not always the charm. In Cha Sa-soon’s case it took 960 tries — and thousands of dollars — to get her driver’s license.

However, the South Korean is now cruising along after finally passing her written driver’s test, as detailed in a viral video recently shared by Asian Culture Unlocked on YouTube.

Sa-soon, who lives alone in the village of Sinchon, finally aced the exam on her 961st attempt.

Her remarkable success story occurred more than a decade ago — but recently resurfaced on Reddit and is inspiring people all over the world.

When she finally passed the test in 2010, she was 69 years old.

She also became something of a local celebrity in South Korea, as her story inspired many people who were struggling to get their own license, according to the widely shared footage.

Sa-soon, who is now in her 80s, didn’t let anything deter her, and she determinedly sat for the written test every day for five days a week over a period of three consecutive years, according to the New York Times.

Things didn’t stop there. Next up: two driving skill and road tests.

However, she failed each of them four times in a row, but persevered through it all, finally obtaining her driver’s license.

In the end, Sa-soon shelled out over 5 million won — or about $4,200 USD — trying to pass these tests, according to NBC News.

The grandmother learned to drive at the Jeonbunk Driving School, and when she finally passed her tells, all of her long-suffering teachers helped her celebrate.

Her story even caught the attention of car empire Hyundai, who awarded Sa-soon with her own car that cost $16,800. She also starred in a popular commercial for the automotive company.

Sa-soon sells her home-grown vegetables for a living and wanted to learn how drive in order to maintain her business.

She also told the Times that she wanted to be able to take her grandchildren to the zoo.

(New York Post)