The final day of trading ahead of the Easter long weekend started with mixed leads offshore. Traders looked to finalise their positions ahead of the four day break but volumes were skinny. Banks switched back into gear as yield play sat front of mind, led convincingly by CBA. This kept the market swinging between double-digit green for the entire session.
Expansionary China PMI numbers still resonate in investor’s minds as the market wrestled with a free-falling iron ore price. Iron ore producers endured concentrated pressure as investors elected to jump ship ahead of any further weekend commodity slippage. Fortescue Metals traded at a six year low with over 3% take off the stock across the session. The Iron ore producer has become one of the most popular stocks to short on the market.
Gold’s bounce overnight saw the sector handsomely supported across the board, up almost 5% as a group. The yellow metal was back trading at the week’s high, after the highest jump in over two months. Support for the precious metal was off the back of sluggish employment numbers from the US overnight, fuelling speculation across the board that the Fed may delay the imminent interest rate hike.
Australian trade numbers were released ahead of lunch and returned a widening deficit of $1.26 billion. The weakening dollar has not had the desired buffering effect on the balance of trade, as the deficit has seen three consecutive increases. Local stocks and the Aussie dollar had little reaction to the news. The dollar is maintaining position in late US0.75 ranges, however stickiness to this level may be dependent on reaction to Non-Farm Payrolls data due on Friday night from the US.
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