Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.5% to 7,220.00
  • Dow Average down 1.0% to 33,012.14
  • Aussie down 0.7% to 0.6655 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 3.4bps to 3.5358%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 1.3 bps to 3.11%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 1.8 bps to 3.41%
  • Gold spot down 1.4% to $1,988.90
  • Brent futures down 0.8% to $74.63/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$700 Million 2.75% 2035 Bonds
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q Wage Price Index QoQ, est. 0.9%, prior 0.8%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q Wage Price Index YoY, est. 3.6%, prior 3.3%

The stock market got hit in the final minutes of US trading on concern that Washington lawmakers are struggling to find common ground to hammer out a debt-ceiling deal and prevent a historic default.

Equities finished near session lows, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1%. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said negotiators are far apart after his meeting with President Joe Biden, while acknowledging that an agreement is still possible.

“Since both sides know what is at stake, default is improbable,” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management. “However, every day closer to the Treasury’s June 1 deadline without a resolution will likely elevate volatility in markets, trim demand for US risk assets, and even expedite recession.”

Yields rose across the US curve, with the rate on 30-year notes climbing to around 3.9% — the highest since the run-up to the banking turmoil that erupted in early March — amid Pfizer Inc.’s $31 billion debt sale.

The mood among global fund managers soured further in May, with investors flocking to cash amid concerns that a recession and credit crunch are looming, according to Bank of America Corp.’s latest survey.

The sentiment among fund managers deteriorated to the most bearish this year, with 65% of survey participants now expecting a weaker economy, BofA’s poll showed.

US retail sales increased in April, suggesting consumer spending is holding up in the face of economic headwinds including inflation and high borrowing costs.

Other News

President Joe Biden is scrapping planned stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea following his trip to Japan for the Group of Seven meeting to return for continuing negotiations with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.

Biden, who departs for Japan on Wednesday, called Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday to inform him that he was postponing the trip, and to invite the Australian leader to Washington for an official state visit. US officials also reached out to Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape’s team, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“We look forward to finding other ways to engage with Australia, the Quad, Papua New Guinea and the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum in the coming year,” Jean-Pierre said.

Biden had scheduled meetings with Pacific island leaders in Port Moresby, before continuing to Sydney and Canberra for the Quad summit with leaders of Australia, Japan, and India. Biden will now meet the Quad leaders in Tokyo.

“The President and I agreed that we would work to reschedule his visit to Australia at the earliest opportunity. I also look forward to visiting Washington later this year for a state visit to the United States,” Albanese said in a statement.

Still, the decision threatens to undermine efforts by the administration to strengthen ties in the Pacific, in a bid to counter Chinese influence. Biden would have been the first US president to visit Papua New Guinea, and has worked hard to strengthen ties with Australia, including by inking a deal to provide Canberra with US nuclear-powered submarines.

“Revitalizing and reinvigorating our alliances and advancing partnerships like the Quad remains a key priority for the president,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is vital to our ability to advance our foreign policy goals and better promote global stability and prosperity.”

The cancellation comes after Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, heavily criticized the president for his upcoming travel plans as debt negotiations continued. At a meeting Tuesday at the White House, Biden told McCarthy and other congressional leaders he planned to call them for updates on staff-level negotiations during his trip to Japan, and follow up with an in-person meeting upon his return.

Failure to reach a deal will likely push the US over its debt ceiling as soon as next month, triggering a default that could rock global financial markets, raise borrowing costs for the government, companies and consumers and imperil an economic expansion that’s already begun to show signs of weakening.

Wall Street showed fresh anxiety Tuesday about Washington’s ability to raise the debt limit and prevent a historic default with both stocks and bonds falling. Yields rose across the US curve, with the rate on 30-year notes climbing to around 3.9% — the highest since the turmoil affecting regional banks that erupted in early March.

Corporate heads including the chief executive officers of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Nasdaq Inc. called on both sides Tuesday to take action to avoid a default.