SCOREBOARD: Fed easing fears

US markets fell following poor housing figures, but the bigger issue was the Fed's quantitative easing end-talk.

Sentiment took a hit overnight, notionally on the back of some disappointing housing figures out of the US. With about an hour left to trade, the Dow is off 73 points (13,963), the S&P500 is off 0.9 per cent (1517) and the Nasdaq is 1 per cent lower (3180). New starts fell 8.5 per cent in January which was weaker than the consensus expectation of about 3.5 per cent. Thing is though, it comes after an almost 16 per cent gain the month prior and, more to the point, building permits rose again – up 1.8 per cent. So I don’t think this data really mattered to be honest. In the absence of anything else I think it's juts a pullback – more sellers than buyers, that sort of thing.

The bigger issue is quantitative easing, and in the lead-up to the Federal Open Market Committee minutes this morning, commodities across the spectrum took some big hits.

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