ASX lower, Flight Centre trades ex-dividend

British Prime Minister Theresa May has stepped up her effort to drive her MPs towards a stark, cliff-edge choice: back her twice-defeated plan in parliament next week, or crash out of the European Union in a no-deal Brexit as soon as March 29.

After Mrs May on Thursday ruled out anything but a short delay to Brexit, on Friday morning (AEDT) she threw down the gauntlet to her parliament, accusing MPs of «political games and arcane procedural rows», and «avoiding making a choice».

She said the public wanted this stage of Brexit «over and done with», and vowed to press on with trying to get MPs behind her hugely disliked withdrawal agreement. She ruled out any delay to Brexit beyond June 30.

Hans van Leeuwen has the full story here.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has stepped up her effort to drive her MPs towards a stark, cliff-edge choice.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has stepped up her effort to drive her MPs towards a stark, cliff-edge choice.Credit:Matt Dunham

Australian shares have opened just slightly lower on Thursday, with only very tentative movements either way.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 6.7 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6158.7.

CSL is down 0.5 per cent, NAB is down just 0.4 per cent and Macquarie Group has slid 0.6 per cent.

Flight Centre is down 5.2 per cent, Emeco Holdings has slipped 2.7 per cent and New Hope Corp is continuing its downward run, falling 2.7 per cent.

BHP Group is up 0.7 per cent, Rio Tinto is climbing 1 per cent and Newcrest Mining is up 1.1 per cent.

Orocobre is up 1.7 per cent, Evolution Mining is up 1.6 per cent and Bluescope Steel has also risen 1.6 per cent.

It’s another big day on the data front too.

Locally we’ll get the Labour force print for February this morning while in New Zealand we’ll get their fourth quarter GDP figures and credit card spending February.

Overseas, we’ll get a read on the Euro zone consumer confidence, the UK’s retail sales figures for February, the US Philly Fed index for March and the Leading index for February.

The Bank fo England is also set to make its monetary policy decision.


The Fed’s dovish tilt gives Wall Street an afternoon boost before a late fade on a seesawing day for stocks, writes Kyle Rodda.

The US Fed has proven itself as the most important game in town for traders. The FOMC met this morning, and lo-and-behold: the dovish Fed has proven more dovish than previously thought; the patient Fed has proven more patient that previously thought. Interest rates have remained on hold, but everyone knew that was to be the case today. It was about the dot-plots, the neutral-rate, the economic projections, and the balance sheet run-off.

On all accounts, the Fed has downgraded their views on the outlook. Markets responded initially by jumping, before fading late in the day to finish in negative territory.. The S&P500 has proven its major-sensitivity to FOMC policy and whipsawed alongside a fall in US Treasury yields, as traders price-in rate cuts from the Fed in the future.

Read the full [email protected] here.

Here are the overnight market highlights:

SPI futures down 4 points to 6170

AUD +0.7% to 71.34 US cents
On Wall St near 4pm: Dow -0.6% S&P 500 -0.3% Nasdaq +0.1%
In New York, BHP +1% Rio +0.2% Atlassian +0.4%
In Europe: Stoxx 50 -1.1% FTSE -0.5% CAC -0.8% DAX -1.6%
Spot gold -0.4% to $US1301.15 an ounce at 12.59pm New York time
Brent crude +0.8% to $US68.18 a barrel
US oil +1.3% to $US59.80 a barrel
Iron ore -3.4% to $US84.30 a tonne
Dalian iron ore -0.1% to 613 yuan
LME aluminium -0.5% to $US1937 a tonne
LME copper -0.03 per cent at $US6457 a tonne
2-year yield: US 2.40% Australia 1.54%
5-year yield: US 2.33% Australia 1.55%
10-year yield: US 2.52% Australia 1.93% Germany 0.08%
US-Australia 10-year yield gap near 7.20am AEDT: 59 basis points

In a dramatic dovish tilt, the US Federal Reserve has scrapped plans for further official interest rate hikes this year and declared it would halt its balance-sheet run-off in September, shutting dead its double-barreled tightening strategy of 2018.

After two days of meetings, policy makers lowered their forecasts for the economy and left the benchmark rate at 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent on Wednesday (Thursday).

In a news conference, Fed chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the Fed would continue to be «patient» on its policy path.

Jacob Greber has the full story here.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell says there is currently no need to move rates in either direction.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell says there is currently no need to move rates in either direction.Credit:Andrew Harrer

Good morning and welcome to Markets Live for Thursday.

Your editor today is William McInnes.

What a night it’s been! The Fed turned more dovish and the likelihood of the UK leaving the EU without a deal increased. We’ll see how the local market reacts today.

The blog is not intended as investment advice.




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