A national holiday in the US tonight will see a quiet start to trading on sharemarkets today – despite the run of record highs last week which has pushed the Aussie market to the top of the pile globally early in 2020.
Futures trading on Friday night saw the share price index rise 36 points, pointing to a solid start on the ASX this morning, but with no lead from the US until Tuesday night (its the Martin Luther King holiday tonight) it is hard to see how local investors will have the confidence to take the lead.
The ASX 200 rose 22.3 points, or 0.3% on Friday, to close at 7,064.1 points. For the week, it added 1.9%.
Combined with the previous week’s 2.9% surge, the index logged its largest two-week advance since July 2016. Year to date, it is now up 5.7%.
Wall Street also closed at all-time highs Friday, marking the third-straight record close for the Dow and S&P 500, as investors continued to ride a wave of optimism.
The Dow rose 50.4 points, or 0.2%, to 29,348.10, the S&P 500 index added 12.8 points, or 0.4% to close at 3,329.62 and the Nasdaq advanced 31.8 points, or 0.2% to end the session at 9,388.94.
All three benchmarks set new intraday and closing highs. As well the Dow is up 2.8% for the year so far, the S&P 500 3% and the Nasdaq has jumped 4.8%.
But the ASX 200 is well in front with its 5.7% year to date gain.
Market sentiment was boosted by surprisingly strong figures on US home construction, with the Commerce Department reporting that home builders broke new ground on new homes at an annual rate of 1.61 million in December, 17% higher than in November, and well above consensus expectations.
Meanwhile, data out of China showed December GDP growth at the fastest pace since last March even though annual growth slowed to 6.1%, the slowest annual rate for 29 years (See separate stories).
Europe’s Stoxx 600 index rose 1.3% last week and is up around 2% for the year so far.