Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures little changed at 7,251.00
  • Dow Average up 1.0% to 33,601.15
  • Aussie up 1.5% to 0.6786 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 5.2bps to 3.4151%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 4 bps to 2.98%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 2.5 bps to 3.32%
  • Gold spot up 0.8% to $1,984.43
  • Brent futures up 6.1% to $84.80/bbl

Economic Events

  • 14:30: (AU) April RBA Cash Rate Target, est. 3.60%, prior 3.60%

Treasuries rose as a gauge of US factory activity contracted by more than expected, tempering inflation concerns fueled by OPEC+’s surprise plan to cut oil production.

Policy-sensitive two-year yields reversed course after earlier climbing as much as 11 basis points. Energy shares led gains in S&P 500, with US crude hitting $80 a barrel. The Nasdaq 100 underperformed major benchmarks as Tesla Inc. sank on data showing its price cuts barely boosted deliveries.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of manufacturing activity decreased to 46.3 in March, below the median estimate of 47.5 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. Measures of new orders and employment retreated.

“The main takeaway from this report is the job market is slowing,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial. “A cooler job market should release some of the inflationary pressure the Fed is working hard to conquer.”

The government’s monthly employment report will be released Friday and will give a fuller picture of the job market. Swaps linked to Fed interest-rate expectations showed a quarter-point hike in May as more likely than not.

Other News

It seems like an impossible vacation: Go on every ride at every Disney park in 12 days.

That’s 216 rides, 12 parks, four countries and three continents.

But an Atlanta man named Nathan Firesheets appears to have conquered the feat this month, gaining a modest global following as he documented the journey in a series of exuberant selfies, always giving a thumbs-up.

The 34-year-old audio-visual systems engineer had no sponsors, not even Disney (he said they never called him back). Firesheets is simply a man who loves amusement parks and wanted to spend two weeks of his vacation time doing something remarkable.

Firesheets began the journey March 8 at Disneyland Paris, where he pinned a sign announcing his quest on his backpack.

“I’m riding every ride at all 12 Disney parks in 12 days,” it read, along with the hashtag, #DisneyGlobalRideChallenge.

Someone snapped a photo of it and soon it was posted to Twitter.

It didn’t exactly go viral with nearly 70,000 views. But Firesheets said his followers pretty quickly jumped from a couple hundred to a couple thousand, a number that continued to grow as he documented his quest on Twitter and YouTube, where he called his goal “the craziest Disney challenge ever conceived.”

Firesheets started planning the journey last summer. He had already done much shorter Disney challenges and mastered a lot of expert tricks to knocking out every ride in a day at various Disney parks, such as getting early entry, prioritizing busier attractions and using FastPass to avoid long lines.

The biggest challenge turned out to be just booking the flights. When Firesheets began planning the trip, tourist travel was severely limited to Japan and China because of the pandemic.

“At that point it was a waiting game and just sitting and watching travel restrictions,” Firesheets said.

Japan was first to open up in October. When China opened in January, it was all systems go.

Firesheets then had to factor in other restrictions. Air France was only running three flights a week between Paris and Shanghai, for instance. And Hong Kong Disneyland was still closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. He also would have to get a COVID test before flying to China, while his quest already was underway.

Firesheets was still able to finish the 12-day challenge at the Magic Kingdom on March 19.

In all, Firesheets said the journey cost about $12,000, nearly $100,000 cheaper than a Disney-run trip to all 12 parks.

That trip, which starts at $110,000 and next leaves on July 9, also includes stops to the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza and the Eiffel Tower.

Despite the sometimes frantic pace, Firesheets said he had the time of his life.

(USA Today)