An indecisive night on global markets gives Asia Pacific investors little to trade on ahead of tonight’s key release of US non-farm payrolls. Shares, currencies and commodities all saw volatility drop, and most markets reversed themselves within the session. The noisy exception is oil, which gyrated through a 5% range as Hurricane Joaquin approaches the US east coast.
European data following yesterday’s China PMI’s pointed to mild expansion in Europe and the US, although some came in below forecast, forcing shares lower early in the overnight session. In Australia, retail sales for August are expected to bounce back from previous weakness for a consensus lift of 0.4%. Combined with news of disharmony at David Jones, local department store retailers may receive a boost.
Investors may welcome a quieter day after a highly volatile week. The market shed 4% before restabilising, and is now sitting on a 1.2% gain for the week. A significant change ahead of the Fed influencing jobs numbers looks unlikely. Energy stocks are a likely focus given the wild night in oil markets, but early indications point to a trimming of the weekly gain.