On Friday the Dow components Microsoft and General Electric both published solid results. We also saw some weekend squaring from traders, which had the Dow drifting off to a close of up 65 points or 0.5%. The Apple-dominated Nasdaq closed down 0.2%, and the S&P split the difference with a 0.1% gain to 1378.
European data was resilient on Friday, with Germany's IFO survey surprising to the upside. Hence the euro found some strength ahead of the weekend meetings. The Bank of Japan declared it was committed to QE and the US dollar index fell 0.5% to 79.14. The Aussie gained 0.4% to US$1.0379 but gold was disinterested, heading into the weekend steady at US$1642.40/oz.
Base metals saw a bit of a boost from the dollar and posted decent gains, with copper up 2%, while West Texas was up US$1.34 to US$103.61.
This week the market will take it’s focus from the US reporting season and Data flow. Out of the US on Tuesday we will see all of the US Monday night data which includes the Case-Shiller house price index for February, the conference board consumer confidence number for March, the FHFA house price index for February and the new home sales number for March.
On Wednesday we will see the Feds policy meeting that will provide both a statement and a press conference. While no one expects any dramatic policy changes, the meeting is the last before June and the central bank's Operation Twist is due to end in June. We will also see durable good orders for March.
On Thursday we will see the Chicago February national activity index and pending home sales for March. While Friday brings employment costs, consumer sentiment and the all-important 1Q GDP read.
HSBC's “flash” estimate of China's manufacturing PMI for April will be out today, while Friday sees Japan providing deluge of important economic data.
Anzac day splits the Australian trading week in two on Wednesday. Monday sees March quarter PPI ahead of Tuesday’s CPI, which will be heavily watched as a guide to interest rates. Thursday brings the conference board leading index for February and Friday we will see new home sales for March.
On the local stock front the resource sector quarterly production reports will pour in this week, with quite a raft due today in particular. Tomorrow will see retail sales numbers from Wesfarmers' various chains and Friday brings a full-year earnings result from Macquarie Group.