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Global Markets Regain Their Mojo

Like commodity markets (see separate story), equities saw a vastly different week last week.

Gone was the gloom and doom as shares enjoyed their strongest week in five years in some cases.

But watch out today - it’s a holiday in the US tonight so markets will not be trading to provide a lead after today’s session across Europe and Asia.

Our market will reflect Friday’s late sluggishness and start with either a small fall or around break even - watch for corporate results from the likes of BHP (tomorrow), Wesfarmers (Wednesday) and Woolworths (Friday) to set the tone for the session at times this week.

The Aussie dollar ended higher around 79.13 US cents as the greenback rose 0.6% on Friday for its first daily gain of the week.

Commodities - from gold to oil, copper and iron ore - enjoyed their best week for a year or more in some cases.

But Friday saw a mixed end to what was a solid week for Wall Street as rising bond yields and the falling dollar were ignored for the time being.

The yield on 10 year US Treasury bonds soared to more than 2.9%, then retreated to just over 2.86%. Two weeks ago that size of rise helped trigger the sell-off.

Gold rose thanks more to the weaker US dollar (over the week) than the need for a safe haven as risk became fashionable again.

So Wall Street saw its best weekly performance since 2013 by Friday’s close, a sharp rebound from its worst week in two years.

Gone were the fears that saw Wall Street flirt twice with a technical correction territory (10% or more down from the most recent peak) February 8.

The S&P 500 eked out a tiny 0.04% rise on Friday to 2,732.16. But that was after struggling to maintain early gains as the afternoon wore on.

It was enough to seal a six-day winning streak for the index — the second time this year it has enjoyed that many winning days in a row — and a gain of 4.3% for the week.

That was its best weekly performance since the first week of 2013. 

The Dow ended 0.05% higher on Friday to 25,213.88, while the Nasdaq Composite eased 0.24% to 7,238.92.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 posted a weekly gain of 3.3%, the best week since December 2016 and the first advance after three weeks of losses, according to FactSet data.

In Australia the ASX 200 futures market has pencilled in a small loss of a few points when trading restarts this morning.

The ASX 200 rose 1.1% over the week.

On Friday, the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 4 points, or 0.1%, to trade at 5904, while the All Ordinaries slipped 3 points, or 0.1% to 6004.

View More Articles By Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.



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