St George Economics economy and finance update

Share Markets:

Sentiment regarding the outlook for US economic growth rebounded on Friday night, driving stocks higher.

The Dow rose 0.8% and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gained 1.0%, with the Nasdaq closing at its highest since October 2000.


Bonds fell at the long end (yields rose) after an influential advisory report suggested the Fed will discuss quantitative easing exit strategies at its June meeting.

Demand for safe haven US government debt continued to soften following the release of upbeat US economic data and stockmarket gains.

Foreign Exchange: 

The Aussie dollar fell further against most of the major currencies.

The US dollar gained ground versus the Aussie dollar with solid US economic data and speculation regarding an end to quantitative easing in the US providing support.


Commodity prices gained, on hopes of a pickup in demand with improving sentiment regarding the outlook for US economic growth. Copper prices rose on data showing copper inventories in China fell last week, although the gains in copper were capped by the stronger US dollar.


There was no significant data released locally on Friday and today is a quiet day for data in Australia.


The Conference Board leading index rose 1.5% in April, pointing to a pickup in economic activity.

China's new-home prices rose in 68 out of 70 cities in April.

The largest changes in annual terms occurred in Guangzhou (13.5%), Beijing (10.3%) and Shanghai (8.5%).


Machine orders surged 14.2% in March, the largest monthly gain in eight years. The jump also followed a revised 4.2% gain in the previous month.

Although capital spending tends to be volatile, the pickup provides a positive sign that firms are becoming more encouraged by a weaker yen. 

New Zealand:

ANZ job ads rose 0.8% in April, the third consecutive monthly gain. This gives some hope for further improvement in the labour market.

Producer prices for both inputs and outputs rose 0.8% in the March quarter, boosted by higher prices for dairy, electricity and gas.

United States: 

University of Michigan consumer confidence jumped to 83.7 in May, from a reading of 76.4 in April. This was the highest reading in almost six years, with stockmarket gains boosting confidence.

The US Conference Board's leading indicator rose by a larger than expected 0.6% in April, after falling 0.2% in March.

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