Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.7% to 7,782.00
  • Dow Average little changed at 38,712.21
  • Aussie up 0.8% to 0.6662 per US$
  • US 10-year yield fell 9.0bps to 4.3141%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 3.2 bps to 3.94%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 4.5 bps to 4.28%
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $2,324.58
  • Brent futures up 0.6% to $82.39/bbl

Economic Events

  • 09:00: (AU) May CBA Household Spending YoY, prior 2.6%
  • 09:00: (AU) May CBA Household Spending MoM, prior -1.0%
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 105-Day Bills
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 70-Day Bills
  • 11:30: (AU) May Full Time Employment Change, prior -6,100
  • 11:30: (AU) May Part Time Employment Change, prior 44,600
  • 11:30: (AU) May Participation Rate, est. 66.7%, prior 66.7%
  • 11:30: (AU) May Employment Change, est. 30,000, prior 38,500
  • 11:30: (AU) May Unemployment Rate, est. 4.0%, prior 4.1%

Stocks hit fresh all-time highs as the Federal Reserve did little to alter Wall Street’s bets that interest rates will drop at least twice in 2024 — even after the central bank’s more-conservative outlook.

The S&P 500 topped 5,400 for the first time in its history, with Wednesday marking the 20-month anniversary of the bull market. While Treasury yields did pare their slide after the central bank decision, Fed swaps are still pointing to rate cuts in both November and December. The dollar retreated against all of its developed-world counterparts.

Other News

Australia’s government should disclose all contracts with consulting firms worth more than A$2 million and create a separate committee to approve them, following an inquiry into an industry plagued with scandal and turmoil.

As part of the months-long investigation, the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee made a total of 12 recommendations, according to the parliamentary report released on Wednesday into the use of consultants by the nation’s government. They fell short of what’s needed, said Greens Senator Barbara Pocock, who pushed for the inquiry.

Wednesday’s report is the latest in a period of intense scrutiny that began last year with revelations that the Australian arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP shared confidential information from its work with government on upcoming tax changes to generate new business at private firms. That resulted in the senior PwC partner at the heart of the scandal getting an eight-year ban from providing financial services and formed the basis for inquiries into allegations of conflict and ethics breaches across firms in the industry and at multiple levels of government.

Since the revelations, PwC Australia has overhauled its leadership and sold off its government services unit for just A$1.

Senator Pocock said the report’s recommendations didn’t go far enough to fundamentally change the industry. Some earlier proposals had sought to ban political donations and limit hiring between the firms and government, as well as barring PwC for a number of years from federal contracts.

“The modest recommendations in the final report are inadequate to meet the crisis uncovered by this inquiry,” she said in a statement.

“In the face of indisputable evidence of a betrayal of confidential tax information by PwC, there are no new recommendations to impose penalties on PwC, despite ongoing investigations and evidence of new misdemeanors,” she said.

PwC is among other consulting and tax audit firms globally that have faced public scrutiny in recent years for their involvement in a string of scandals from China to the US and elsewhere. The sector has also seen thousands of job and budget cuts as demand for their services wane.