- ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.2% to 7,043.00
- Dow Average down 0.6% to 33,727.43
- Aussie down 1.1% to 0.6681 per US$
- U.S. 10-year yield fell 6.1bps to 3.7347%
- Australia 3-year bond yield rose 4.9 bps to 4.02%
- Australia 10-year bond yield rose 1.2 bps to 3.99%
- Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,921.20
- Brent futures down 0.4% to $73.85/bbl
Oil and US equity futures edged higher Monday while major currencies traded within narrow ranges versus the dollar in the wake of a mutiny that challenged Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia.
Contracts for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 rose about 0.1%. Oil added about 0.7%. The yen fluctuated, the euro strengthened and commodity-linked currencies such as Australia dollar and Norwegian krone were little changed.
Events in Russia were expected to reduce risk taking in markets Monday without triggering excessively sharp reactions given the deal that was brokered to defuse the situation, with Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin halting the advance of his forces toward Moscow after a deal was done to drop criminal mutiny charges against him and his fighters.
Commodity prices will come into sharper focus as the trading session unfolds, with much attention on oil, grains, natural gas and tradition haven assets such as gold.
The turmoil in Russia follows a tough week for investors that saw US stocks notch the worst week since March as anxiety rose that central banks would have to ratchet interest rates higher to tamp down inflation. Bonds rallied on bets that excessive tightening will bring on sharp economic downturns.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia named a new chief executive officer and said it will sell its scandal-hit government consultant unit as the embattled firm seeks to claw back confidence in the wake of a tax scandal.
Kevin Burrowes, the global clients and industries leader for the PwC Network, will move to Sydney from Singapore to take on his new role, the company said in a statement Sunday.
The Australian arm of the global consulting giant has been under pressure following revelations that a former senior partner obtained confidential tax policy information while advising the government and the firm then used it to advise global clients. PwC stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue due to its breach as clients review their relationship.
“In his capacity as CEO, Kevin will lead the management team and serve as chair of the firm’s Executive Board to ensure the firm fully responds to the need to enhance leadership and governance and reinforce our values throughout the organization,” the company said. “Kevin’s key priority will be to enhance the firm’s culture, with a focus on ethics and controls.”
PwC Australia also announced Sunday it entered into an exclusive agreement to sell its federal and state government business to Allegro Funds for A$1 (67 US cents) with an aim to sign a binding pact by end-July. Government advisory work accounts for 20% of PwC Australia’s revenue in FY2023, it said.
Calling it “an extremely difficult decision,” PwC Australia said the step was taken to protect its public sector clients and about 1,750 employees in its government business.
“The transaction will result in an exit from all government advisory work, at both the state and federal levels,” it said. While the divestment will impact PwC Australia’s future size and operations, “it allows the firm to move forward with predictability and focus, and ensure stability for the rest of PwC’s clients in other parts of the business,” it said.