Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.3% to 7,722.00
  • Dow Average up 0.7% to 38,503.69
  • Aussie up 0.6% to 0.6487 per US$
  • US 10-year yield little changed at 4.6004%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 3.7 bps to 3.85%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 5.1 bps to 4.27%
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $2,322.16
  • Brent futures up 1.7% to $88.44/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI Trimmed Mean QoQ, est. 0.8%, prior 0.8%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI Trimmed Mean YoY, est. 3.8%, prior 4.2%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI Weighted Median QoQ, est. 0.9%, prior 0.9%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI Weighted Median YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 4.4%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI QoQ, est. 0.8%, prior 0.6%
  • 11:30: (AU) 1Q CPI YoY, est. 3.5%, prior 4.1%
  • 11:30: (AU) March CPI YoY, est. 3.4%, prior 3.4%

A rally in tech heavyweights lifted the broader stock market, with the group’s high-stakes earnings seen by Wall Street investors as a major test of the bull run in equities.

The S&P 500 rose 1.2%, notching its best back-to-back rally in two months. Nvidia Corp., the poster child of the artificial-intelligence boom, led a surge in chipmakers.

Treasuries briefly extended gains after a solid $69 billion sale of two-year notes — but quickly returned to levels seen ahead of the auction — with 10-year yields little changed.

Other News

Australia’s domestic intelligence chief warned that artificial intelligence is likely to dramatically improve the capabilities of the nation’s enemies — resulting in increased espionage, disinformation and radicalization.

The internet is already “the world’s most potent incubator of extremism,” Mike Burgess, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, said in excerpts of a speech to be delivered Wednesday. “AI is likely to make radicalization easier and faster.”

ASIO reckons artificial intelligence “will allow a step change” in the capabilities of Australia’s enemies, Burgess said.

His comments echo sentiments from the heads of the US’s FBI and Britain’s MI5 about terrorists exploiting the enormous potential of the technology, saying last October that it brings a level of threat never previously encountered. But Burgess also highlighted the conundrum as it also opens huge opportunities.

“The way I see it, AI is HOT: equal parts Hype, Opportunity and Threat,” he said, according to the excerpts of his speech to the National Press Club.

Burgess also called on technology companies to work with agencies to establish lawful access for end-to-end encryption. While privacy is important, he said, it can’t be absolute and technology shouldn’t be above the law.

“Unaccountable encryption is like building a safe room for terrorists and spies, a secure place where they can plot and plan.”

Australia is still reeling from two knife attacks in the past two weeks. Just over a week ago, the bishop of an ultra-conservative Assyrian Orthodox church in Sydney was stabbed during a service, in what police say was a religiously-motivated “terrorist incident.”

Burgess said ASIO is investigating a number of Australians who belong to a nationalist and racist extremist network who use an encrypted chat platform to communicate with offshore extremists, sharing propaganda and discussing how to provoke a race war.

“The chatroom is encrypted, so ASIO’s ability to investigate is seriously compromised,” he said.

As a result, “having lawful and targeted access to extremist communications would be much more effective and efficient. It would give us real time visibility of their activities,” he said.