Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures little changed at 7,604.00
  • Dow Average little changed at 39,115.94
  • Aussie down 0.4% to 0.6537 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 4.9bps to 4.2972%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 7.1 bps to 3.72%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 9.6 bps to 4.10%
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $2,029.75
  • Brent futures up 1.3% to $82.67/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$150 Million 1% 2050 Inflation-Linked Bonds

The stock market lost steam near record highs as traders braced for a barrage of economic data and remarks from Federal Reserve speakers that will help shape the outlook for interest rates.

Wall Street is also keeping a close eye on how the market will manage to absorb heavy Treasury and corporate sales amid month-end positioning. US yields rose after Monday’s auctions of two-year and five-year government notes. Meantime, blue-chip companies in the US have sold a record $172 billion of bonds in February as they race to seize on investor demand amid a drop in borrowing costs.

As the economy comes back to the forefront, the Fed’s favored inflation gauge is projected to show the biggest increase in a year. Thursday’s core personal consumption expenditures price index will likely highlight the bumpy path the central bank faces in achieving its 2% target. Following a jump in both the consumer and the producer price indexes, the PCE would also validate recent Fedspeak underscoring officials are in no rush to cut rates.

Other News

Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG’s Australian operations are paying male staff over 40% more than women on average, according to company level data released by the Australian government for the first time on Tuesday.

Units of Barrenjoey Capital Partners Pty Ltd. and Bank of America Corp. also have median gender pay gaps of a similar magnitude, in a sign of how deeply compensation differentials are entrenched in the finance industry despite years of high-profile diversity initiatives intended to narrow the chasm.

Similar disclosure programs in other countries have also shown substantial gaps: in Japan for example, women working for top banks earn little more than half the amount of their male colleagues.

“Meaningful and sustainable change will take time,” Morgan Stanley Australia Chief Executive Officer Richard Wagner said in an emailed statement, adding that the company is committed to addressing the gender pay gap “through development, retention and promotion of more women into senior roles.”

UBS declined to comment in advance of the report’s formal publication. Barrenjoey and BofA’s Merrill Lynch Australia didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Overall, the median renumeration gap across the financial and insurance services sector — a calculation which includes pension payments and bonuses — was 26%, data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows. That was the second largest gap of all sectors analyzed, after construction.

The figures are part of a new, annual release of pay differentials for all companies with 100 or more local employees. The data excludes the compensation of CEOs and heads of business.

Other top shelf names with pay gaps above the sector average include Goldman Sachs Australia, Citigroup Australia, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. While local stalwarts with better pay ratios than the rest of the industry include Australia & New Zealand Banking Group at 23% and Macquarie Group at 22%. National Australia Bank fared best out of the big Australian names with a median gap of 19% — in line with the overall national average across all industries.

“Transparency and accountability are critical for driving change,” said Finance Minister Katy Gallagher. “We are arming individuals and organizations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces.”

A full breakdown of all employer data is available on WGEA’s website.