Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.4% to 7,857.00
  • Dow Average little changed at 39,132.04
  • Aussie up 0.7% to 0.6562 per US$
  • US 10-year yield little changed at 4.3492%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 5.9 bps to 3.71%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 6.8 bps to 4.14%
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $2,297.51
  • Brent futures up 0.6% to $89.44/bbl

Economic Events

  • 09:00: (AU) March Judo Bank Australia PMI Compos, prior 52.4
  • 09:00: (AU) March Judo Bank Australia PMI Services, prior 53.5
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 77-Day Bills
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 126-Day Bills
  • 10:50: (AU) RBA’s Jones-Speech
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Private Sector Houses MoM, prior -9.9%
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Building Approvals MoM, est. 3.0%, prior -1.0%

The bond market rebounded from session lows, with Jerome Powell only reiterating the Federal Reserve’s wait-and-see approach before policymakers decide to embark on interest-rate cuts.

While the Fed chief didn’t break any major new ground, Wall Street got some relief from his views that recent inflation figures did not “materially change” the overall picture. Powell also reaffirmed that it will likely be appropriate to begin lowering rates “at some point this year.” Equities edged up after a two-day slide, but struggled to pick up much traction amid a drop in a pair of blue chips — Intel Corp. and Walt Disney Co.

In recent days, traders had scaled back their rate-cut expectations amid signs of economic resilience and a more cautious tone from a drumbeat of Fed officials. That has led to skepticism on whether Powell and his colleagues would be able to deliver on the central bank’s projection of three rate reductions this year.

Treasury 10-year yields were little changed at 4.35% after climbing about eight basis points earlier Wednesday. The S&P 500 finished with a mere gain of 0.1%.

Other News

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. said there is no impending deal to sell its Australian phone carrier Optus, following a report that discussions for a transaction had collapsed.

Singtel said it regularly conducts strategic reviews of its portfolio including Optus to optimize the value of its assets, with Optus remaining “a strategic and integral part” of the company, according to a statement Wednesday. The stock fell by its most in nearly five months after The Australian reported that talks to sell a stake in Optus failed.

Singtel and private equity firm Brookfield had engaged in discussions for a 20% share in Optus, Australia’s second-largest carrier, but couldn’t agree to terms, including price, the report said. Shares of the Singaporean telecommunications provider fell as much as 4.3% on Wednesday, before the company requested a trading halt. They’d risen in March when another report suggested Brookfield was looking to buy the mobile network at a valuation of close to $11 billion.

Optus is one of Singtel’s biggest overseas investments, though its recent history has been marred by a widespread outage that forced the resignation of its chief executive officer in November, following an earlier cyberattack that exposed the personal information of millions of customers. The Australian carrier’s revenue slid 5.4% in the December quarter while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 1.8%, according to Singtel filings.