Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.1% to 7,016.00
  • Dow Average down 0.2% to 35,310.48
  • Aussie up 0.3% to 0.6607 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 7.7bps to 4.3904%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 2.9 bps to 4.22%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 2 bps to 4.57%
  • Gold spot up 0.6% to $2,012.70
  • Brent futures down 0.7% to $80.03/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$100 Million 2.5% 2030 Inflation-Linked…
  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$50 Million 1% 2050 Inflation-Linked Bonds
  • 11:30: (AU) Oct. Retail Sales MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.9%
  • 12:18: (AU) RBA’s Bullock-Panel in Hong Kong

Treasuries extended their powerful November advance as traders weighed mixed US government debt sales amid bets the Federal Reserve is done with interest-rate hikes.

A $55 billion auction of five-year bonds saw strong demand, following a soft $54 billion sale of two-year notes. Benchmark 10-year yields dropped eight basis points to around 4.4%. Stocks wavered after a rally that sent the market toward one of its biggest meltups of the last 100 years — putting the S&P 500 at “overbought” levels.

The world’s biggest bond market has clawed its way back after spending chunks of 2023 underwater — heading toward its best month since March. The Bloomberg US Treasury Index shifted earlier in November to a positive return for the year as signs of slowing inflation and measured jobs growth unleashed a rally that sent yields tumbling from their highest in more than a decade.

Traders will be closely watching another batch of economic data this week, including the Fed’s preferred measure of underlying inflation. US sales of new houses fell in October after a downward revision to the prior month as decades-high mortgage rates weighed on demand. The Fed Bank of Dallas manufacturing index for November came in softer than expected.

Bets that policymakers are done with the rate-hiking cycle have fueled a rally in the S&P 500 this month, sinking short-term volatility expectations. While some used the opportunity to buy protection on the cheap, it’s been far from ubiquitous — and calls saying the market environment is getting too placid are on the rise.

More than 60% of respondents in the latest MLIV Pulse survey expect stocks to provide better returns than bonds over the next month. That’s the highest level of excitement about equities that the survey registered since the question about the two assets was first asked in August 2022.

Wall Street forecasters have turned more optimistic about the outlook for next year as investor sentiment improves and expectations of a recession are dialed back.

Other News

Progress in elevating women into Australia’s top corporate roles has stalled despite the country’s gender pay gap narrowing to the lowest in more than a decade.

The average annual pay difference between men and women narrowed by A$1,322 ($867.83) to A$26,393, a drop of 1.1 percentage points since last year. It’s the second-largest annual decrease since the Workplace Gender Equality Agency began surveying employers in 2014 for its Employer Census, which this year covered 4.8 million workers.

While the proportion of women in management has been increasing at every level, that doesn’t include chief executive officer, the WGEA report showed. Across the workforce, the proportion of female board members remained the same as 2022 — at just 34% — while 22% of CEOs were women.

The agency’s report comes as Australia takes steps to confront its wage disparity, which is slightly below the OECD average. The nation ranks 26th on the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index, which is topped by Iceland, Finland, Norway and New Zealand. Starting next year, individual companies with 100 workers or more will be required to report their gender pay gap data on a yearly basis as part of new income equality legislation. Currently, results are only disclosed by industry rather than by company.

The UK, Japan and the US all have similar wage transparency measures. Still, in the UK, there has been limited progress in closing the pay gap, without any progress between 2022 and 2023. And in the US, progressive think tank the Center for American Progress reported this year that wage gaps along gender and racial lines have cost the country’s women $61 trillion since 1967.

Australia’s drop was driven “by an increase in the proportion of women in senior management and manager roles and corresponding increases in pay” WGEA Chief Executive Officer Mary Wooldridge said ahead of the report’s release. The tighter labor market has also likely driven employers to hire more women in management and higher income roles, the WGEA added.

The country’s industries with the largest average gender pay gap are construction, at 28.3%; financial and insurance services at 26.2%; and rental, hiring and real estate services at 23.1%, the agency found. The lowest pay gap was in accommodation and food services, with 6.4%.

Globally, women are paid about 20% less than men, according to the International Labour Organization.