Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 1.0% to 7,633.00
  • Dow Average up 0.9% to 38,764.93
  • Aussie up 0.5% to 0.6523 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 2.1bps to 4.2359%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 13 bps to 3.73%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 13 bps to 4.14%
  • Gold spot up 0.6% to $2,005.26
  • Brent futures up 1.7% to $82.96/bbl

Economic Events

Wall Street traders looked past mixed economic data, sending stocks and bonds higher before an inflation reading that will help define the Federal Reserve’s next steps.

The S&P 500 hit another all-time high — despite losses in its most-influential group: technology. A drop in retail sales helped soothe investors’ nerves about overheated consumer demand — especially after all the jitters caused by a strong inflation print earlier this week. Bond yields fell, with Fed swaps fully pricing an interest-rate cut in June.

For months, investors have been dealing with clashing economic narratives. Progress toward lower inflation has shaped the view that the Fed can cut interest rates from multiyear highs to avoid pushing the US into a recession. At the same time, the economy has outperformed expectations, giving the central bank cover to delay.

The S&P 500 rose to around 5,030, led by gains in banks and energy companies. Tesla Inc. climbed over 6%. Treasury 10-year yields retreated two basis points to 4.24%.

Other News

As Taylor Swift kicks off her Eras tour in Australia on Friday, Genevieve Mylne will be among a legion of fans providing what’s likely to be only a fleeting boost to the economy. The 19-year-old student will spend around A$2,000 ($1,300) on tickets, flights and accommodation to watch the show twice in Melbourne and at least once in Sydney.

“I definitely wouldn’t spend this much on any other concert,” said Mylne, who’s put aside her wages as a gymnastics coach for the spending splurge. “I don’t feel that strongly about any other artist.”

With seven shows across Australia’s two biggest cities from Feb. 16-26, the tour could generate A$1.2 billion in economic value in Melbourne alone, according to the city’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp. But with the country’s savings rate at the lowest since the end of 2007 and cost-of-living concerns making consumers pessimistic, economists say that’s likely to be a temporary sugar hit.

“The Australian leg of the Eras tour should see a burst of spending on tickets, travel and hospitality, but that’s likely to come at a cost elsewhere in the economy,” said James McIntyre at Bloomberg Economics. “With households under extreme pressure from higher rates, and the savings rate at a 16-year low, concert-related spending could crowd out purchases in other areas, especially in already weak discretionary sectors.”

The billionaire singer has made economic waves throughout her record-shattering global tour, in a phenomenon dubbed “Swiftonomics.” Bloomberg Economics estimates the megastar, along with a tour from Beyoncé and the “Barbenheimer” films, may have contributed as much as $8.5 billion to US growth in the third quarter of 2023.

The four sellout concerts at Sydney’s Accor Stadium will be the “biggest series of major events that we’ve had” since the city hosted the Olympic Games in 2000, said Kerrie Mather, chief executive officer of site operator Venues NSW. About 35% of the 320,000 fans in Sydney will be traveling from interstate or overseas, she added.

Concerts on such a scale are “huge demand drivers for hotels,” said Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson, adding occupancy rates in Melbourne are 20% higher than a year earlier, and 10% higher in Sydney.

Such demand has seen the cost of flights and accommodation spike, with Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Michele Bullock addressing the topic of “Taylor Swift inflation” in a media conference earlier this month.

“People are deciding what’s really important to them,” Bullock said. “And clearly for a lot of people Taylor Swift is very important.” The governor added her own children had “put money away” for tickets and “forewent other things in order to be able to afford Taylor Swift.”

Meanwhile, Mylne is flying some 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Sydney to Melbourne for this weekend’s shows, armed with more than 80 homemade friendship bracelets to trade with other fans.

“I think this is like the most absurd concert experience I’ll ever have,” the psychology student said. The experience, “even if it means spending copious amounts of money, is worth it.”