Afternoon trading March 22

  1. 8,965 Posts.
    Thanks Oscar and morning crew.

    Half-time round-up:

    Solid jobs data and improving US equity futures helped the ASX overcome early losses following a volatile night on Wall Street.

    The ASX 200 slumped 41 points in the first half-hour before paring its mid-session deficit to one point or less than 0.1% at 5950. Buying interest was aided by an up-tick in US futures after the US Federal Reserve raised its key rate overnight. S&P 500 futures were recently up 5.5 points or 0.2%.

    Overnight, US stocks whipsawed into the red as traders weighed the debut press conference from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and the board's decision to raise its top target rate 25 basis points to 1.75%. The S&P 500 ended 0.18% lower.

    Back home, the February employment update came in slightly below expectations, but not by enough to sound alarm bells. The economy added 17,500 jobs (versus expectations for a gain of 20,000), tipping the unemployment rate up a basis point to 5.6%.

    Jobs growth remained solid, "but the pace has slowed from the highs seen in 2017," Sarah Hunter, BIS Oxford Economics' head of Macroeconomics in Australia, told Fairfax. "It will take at least a year of continued jobs growth before we use up all the spare capacity in the labour market and start to see upward pressure on wage growth."

    Resource stocks caught an updraft from stronger US doll-denominated commodity prices after a downturn in the greenback after the Fed meeting. The metals & mining sector put on 2.3%, materials 1.6%, energy 1.5% and gold 0.7%. Telecoms lost 1.4%, utilities 0.9% and financials 0.2%.

    An increasingly positive morning in Asia saw China's Shanghai Composite up 0.05%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.65% and Japan's Nikkei 0.92%.

    Crude oil futures added another 13 cents or 0.2% this morning to US$65.30 a barrel. Gold futures jumped $9.80 or 0.74% to US$1,337.10 an ounce. The dollar was buying 77.58 US cents.

    Nice intraday reversal on the XJO this morning. Split market due to currency factors - yield stocks down, resource stocks up. Wall Street didn't applaud the rate hike, but it didn't toss its toys out of the cot, either. Tonight should give a better read on the true implications. Trading: nice morning. Bought NUH both times it dipped under 10c. Sold at 10.5c. Also got a pip out of KRC.
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