How’dy USA

In US economic data, personal income rose by 0.2% in January (forecast +0.3%) with spending up 0.1% (forecast +0.3%). The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation - the core personal consumption deflator - rose 0.1% in January to be up 1.8% on the year (forecast 1.9%). New home sales rose 4.9% in February to 667,000 (620,000). Consumer sentiment rose from 93.8 to 98.4 in March (forecast 97.8).

US share markets posted solid gains on Friday. There were encouraging reports of progress on the China trade deal and inflation data was benign. The Dow Jones index rose by 211 points or 0.8%. The S&P500 index rose by 0.7%. And the Nasdaq index rose by 60 points or 0.8%. Over the week key indexes rose 1.1- 1.7%. Over the quarter the Dow rose 11.15% with the S&P 500 up 13.1% and Nasdaq up 16.5%.

Bonjour Europe

European share markets were firmer on Friday despite the latest Brexit deal. But there were encouraging signals on US-China trade talks. The pan-European STOXX600 index rose by 0.6%. The benchmark index posted its best quarterly gain in four years. The German Dax rose 0.9% on Friday and the UK FTSE was higher by 0.6%. And in London trade, shares of Rio Tinto rose 1.8% while BHP rose by 1.7%.

The UK Parliament rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 344 votes to 286.

Hello World!

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro held between US$1.1207 and US$1.1243 and was near US$1.1225 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar held between US70.74 cents and US71.03 cents and was near US70.95 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen held between 110.56 yen per US dollar and JPY110.93 and was near JPY110.84 in late US trade.

Global oil prices were higher on Tuesday. The number of oil rigs in operation in the US fell by 8 to 816 - the lowest in almost a year. Brent crude rose by US57 cents or 0.8% to US$68.39 a barrel and the US Nymex price rose by US84 cents or 1.4% to US$59.94 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose 2% and Nymex rose 1.9%. Prices rose 30% in the March quarter - the biggest gain in a decade.

Base metal prices were generally higher on Friday. Zinc rose by 2.4% and copper rose 2%. But lead and tin lost 0.1%. Over the week zinc rose 5.4% with copper up 2.7% but lead, nickel and tin fell by less than 0.4%.

The gold futures price fell by US$3.20 an ounce or 0.2% to $1,298.50 an ounce. The spot gold price was near US$1,292 an ounce in late US trade. Over the week gold fell by US$13.80 or 1.1%. Iron ore rose by US$3.20 or 3.8% to US$87.05 a tonne. Over the week iron ore rose by US25 cents or 0.3%.

G’day Australia

In Australia, the NAB business survey, manufacturing surveys and CoreLogic home prices are released. In the US, retail sales, business inventories and construction spending data are released with the ISM manufacturing survey.