How’dy USA

In US economic data, non-farm payrolls (employment) rose by 196,000 in March (forecasts +180,000). The jobless rate was unchanged at 3.8% as expected. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.1% (forecast +0.3%) and annual wage growth fell from 3.4% to 3.2%. Consumer credit rose by US$15.19 billion in February (forecast +US$17 billion).

US share markets were firmer on Friday. Firm jobs data eased fears of an economic slowdown. Oil stocks rose as oil prices lifted. US-China trade talks will continue in the coming week by video-link. A number of US banks will release earnings figures in the coming week. The Dow Jones index rose by 40 points or 0.2%. The S&P500 index rose for the seventh straight day, up by 0.5%. And the Nasdaq index rose by 47 points or 0.6%. Over the week the Dow rose 1.9% with the S&P 500 up 2.1% and the Nasdaq rose by 2.7%. 

US treasuries were mixed on Friday. While job growth remained solid, wage growth eased in April. US 2-year yields rose by 1 point to 2.34% and US 10-year yields fell by 1 point to 2.50%. Over the week US 2-year yields rose by 8 points and US 10-year yields rose by 9 points.

Bonjour Europe

European share markets rose on Friday. Firm US jobs data provided encouragement to investors together with a 0.7% lift in German industrial output in February. Oil & gas stocks rose but banks and telecom fell. The pan-European STOXX600 index rose by 0.1%. The German Dax rose by 0.2% and the UK FTSE was higher by 0.6%. And in London trade, shares of Rio Tinto rose by 1.7% while BHP rose by 1.6%.

Hello World!

Major currencies were generally softer against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro fell from near US$1.1240 to US$1.1210 and was near US$1.1220 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar fell from near US71.30 cents to near US70.90 cents and was near US71.10 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen held between 111.60 yen per US dollar and JPY111.80 and was near JPY111.73 in late US trade.

Global oil prices rose on Friday to 5-month highs. Stronger-than expected US job figures eased demand concerns. The prospect of military action in Libya could also crimp crude supplies in the short term. But the number of US oil rigs in operation rose by 15 last week to 831. Brent crude rose by US94 cents or 1.4% to US$70.34 a barrel and US Nymex rose by US98 cents or 1.6% to US$63.08 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose 2.9% and Nymex rose by 4.9%.

Base metal prices were lower by up to 0.7% with nickel and tin down the most. But zinc bucked the trend, up 0.4%. Over the week metals fell by between 0.6-1.8% with zinc down the least and lead down the most. But nickel rose by 0.7%.

The gold futures price rose by US$1.30 an ounce or 0.1% to $1,295.60 an ounce. The spot gold price was near US$1,291 an ounce in late US trade. Over the week gold fell by US$2.90 or 0.2%. Iron ore fell by US10 cents or 0.1% to US$92.80 a tonne. Over the week iron ore rose by US$5.75 or 6.6%.

G’day Australia

In Australia no major data is scheduled. In the US, data on factory orders is expected.