AFTERNOON REPORT (4.30pm AEDT)
The Australian sharemarket rose by 1.7 per cent today, largely making up for three consecutive days of weakness. Even when taking into account today's gains, the All Ordinaries index has slipped by 0.16 per cent over the past five sessions. Since the start of January 2013, the local market has jumped by 9.96 per cent, making it the best start to a new year in 21 years. Today was the biggest daily improvement for the All Ords since mid-July 2012.
Department store owner, Myer (MYR) continues its strong run this year and received a boost from yesterday's better than forecast profit result. MYR shares were up 0.98 per cent after rising by 5.8 per cent on Thursday. Its competitor, David Jones (DJS) rose by 1.68 per cent, and ended the week unchanged.
This week has been an eventful one for economic data, with a stellar jobs report out on Thursday boosting the Australian dollar strongly. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there were 71,500 jobs created in February, seven times more than expected. The results of a survey out mid-week showed that consumer confidence rose by 2 per cent in March and has improved by almost 10 per cent since the start of the year. This has effectively wiped out all chances of a rate cut over the next few months.
Looking ahead to tonight, the European Union Economic Summit continues. There are 27 countries within the Union, 17 of which use the Euro (€) currency. The 17 country bloc is often referred to as the Eurozone or the Euro Area.
In the U.S tonight, the latest consumer prices for February are scheduled for release in addition to January's industrial production report. A slight rise for both is forecast by the market.
Next week will be a little quieter with fewer economic releases to be issued. On Monday however, lending finance and new car sales data will be out. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank Board (RBA) Minutes along with speeches by some central bank officials are issued. Imports of goods and detailed labour data are scheduled for later in the week.
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