Australian Stock Market Report – Morning 2/24/14

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By Craig James, CommSec Chief Economist | February 24, 2014 11:02 AM EST

US MORNING REPORT
(5.15am AEDT)

In US economic data, existing home sales fell 5.1% to a 4.62 million annualised pace in January. Economists had tipped a 4.3% decline.

Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the G20 nations have vowed to implement policies to boost the world economy by more than $2 trillion over the coming five years.

REUTERS
A real estate for sale sign is displayed outside a home in Chandler Heights, Arizona June 2, 2011.

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European shares rose on Friday with investors encouraged by rating upgrades for key French companies by brokers. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.3% with the UK FTSE and German Dax both up by 0.4%. The French CAC 40 index rose 0.6% to 5-1/2 year highs. Mining shares were mixed in London trade with BHP Billiton down 0.5% while Rio Tinto rose 0.2%.

US sharemarkets fell on Friday. Thomson Reuters reported: ´´Shares declined late in the session due in part to trades related to options expiration, according to market participants.´´ Investors were also cautious as the S&P 500 once again flirts with record highs. At the close of trade, the US Dow Jones was down by almost 30 points or 0.2% while the S&P 500 was down by 0.2% and the Nasdaq lost 4 points or 0.1%. Over the week the Dow Jones lost 0.3%, the S&P 500 lost 0.1% but the Nasdaq rose for the third week, up by 0.5%.

US long-term treasury prices rose on Friday (yields lower) in response to soft economic data. US 2 year yields fell by 2 points to 0.318% while US 10 year yields fell by 2 points to 2.73%. Over the week, US 2 year yields rose by 2 points and US 10 year yields also rose by 2 points.

Major currencies were mixed against the greenback over the European and US sessions. The Euro lifted from lows near US$1.3700 to US$1.3755 and was near US$1.3735 in afternoon US trade. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US90.05c to lows near US89.50c, rebounded to US89.80c and settled around US89.75c in afternoon US trade. And the Japanese yen eased from its strongest levels near 102.32 yen per US dollar to JPY102.79 and was trading near JPY102.52 in afternoon US trade.

US oil prices fell on Friday in response to milder temperatures in the US Northeast. However another polar vortex is headed for the US early in the coming week. Brent crude fell by US45c or 0.4% to US$109.85 a barrel while US Nymex crude fell by US55c or 0.5% to US$102.20 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose by 0.7% and Nymex rose by 1.9%.

Base metal prices were largely flat on Friday. Lead rose 0.6% but other metals rose or fell by 0.2%. Over the week metals rose up to 1.5% with aluminium leading the way. The gold price rose again on Friday, benefitting from flows away from digital currencies like bitcoin as well as a softer greenback. The Comex gold futures price was up by US$6.70 or 0.5% to US$1,323.60 per ounce. The gold price rose 0.4% over the week. The iron ore price fell by US50c on Friday to US$122.40 a tonne with the price down US80c on the week.

Ahead: In Australia no major economic data is released. In the US the national activity index is released with the Markit ´´flash´´ services gauge and the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing business index. In China, data on house prices is released.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Joshua Lott)
A real estate for sale sign is displayed outside a home in Chandler Heights, Arizona June 2, 2011.
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