Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.6% to 7,817.00
  • Dow Average up 0.3% to 38,774.92
  • Aussie up 0.9% to 0.6621 per US$
  • US 10-year yield fell 1.3bps to 4.0904%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 1.2 bps to 3.64%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 0.1 bps to 4.01%
  • Gold spot up 0.5% to $2,159.81
  • Brent futures down 0.1% to $82.85/bbl

Economic Events

Stocks hit all-time highs in the run-up to the US jobs report, with investors betting some of the world’s major central banks will start slashing interest rates as soon as June.

Those wagers emboldened equity bulls expecting lower borrowing costs will fuel corporate profits. While tech remained in the leadership position, an equal-weighted version of the S&P 500 — where the likes of Nvidia Corp. carry the same heft as Dollar Tree Inc. — hovered near a record. That gauge is less sensitive to gains from the largest companies — providing a glimpse of hope that the rally will broaden out.

Treasury two-year yields declined alongside the dollar after Jerome Powell said the Federal Reserve is “not far” from the level of confidence needed to ease monetary policy. He noted that interest-rate reductions “can and will begin” this year. The Fed chief also remarked he could see the case for shortening maturity of central-bank holdings.

Across the Atlantic, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde indicated officials may be in a position to ease policy in June. Just like the Fed, the ECB is contemplating when to sound the all-clear on inflation and begin undoing the unprecedented monetary tightening deployed to subdue it.

Other News

Australia’s main securities exchange ASX Ltd. was fined by the markets watchdog for more than eight thousand lapses in trade order transparency.

ASX paid A$1.05 million ($690,480) to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission — the first time the regulator has slapped a market operator with an infringement notice, ASIC said in a statement Thursday.

The exchange breached the rule requiring so-called pre-trade transparency on 8,417 occasions between April 2019 and December 2022, meaning information about orders was not available for some equities products, the commission said.

“ASX strives towards the highest standards and this includes providing appropriate pre-trade transparency at all times,” Helen Lofthouse, ASX Chief Executive Officer, said in a separate statement. “The availability of pre-trade information is fundamental to a fair and transparent market, and we take seriously any impairment to this. We are very disappointed this error happened.”

The penalty is just the latest in a protracted list of woes at the Australian bourse. ASX ditched a plan in 2022 to replace its aging clearing and settlement platform with a blockchain-based system and last year moved to hire Tata Consultancy Services to build a replacement platform.