Good morning. Consumer Sentiment on Friday drove gains in the Equity and Base Metal markets. With Political unrest in Libya still plaguing the minds of traders, GDP figures announced during the session, painted an uncertain picture. Recording 2.8% for the period, the figure was below market expectations of 3.3%. Temporary weakness in the energy futures markets also contributed to the bounce back in the market. Key data to be announced in the US this week includes Personal Income (market expects 0.3%), Chicago PMI (market expects 67.5), Pending Home Sales (-3.2%) on Monday, Construction Spending (market expects -0.6%) on Tuesday, Crude Inventories and the Beige Book on Wednesday, Initial Claims (market expects 400,000), ISM Services (market expects 59) on Thursday, Non Farm Payrolls (market expects 180,000), Unemployment Rate (market expects 9.1%), and Factory Orders (market expects 2.1%) on Friday.
On the equity market front, the Dow Jones closed 61 points higher on Friday with surprising corporate announcements from Intel and Boeing. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced a $30 billion contract signing with the Air Force. The market reacted positively to the news with the stock rising 2.2%. Chip giant, Intel received supportive analyst comments from a large Wall Street Investment Bank, pushing the company higher intraday. Notable companies to release earnings this week include Mining company Coeur D’Alene and Liberty Media.
On the currency front, on Friday, the Aussie dollar rose to 1.0142 with buoyant commodity prices pushing the currency higher. A strong Oil price worked in favour of the AUD, with the greenback falling as economists speculated on the impact of the recent events. The US economy is very sensitive to energy costs. GDP data will confirm the daily trend for the currency pair, with a market expectation of 3.3% . This will be a slight rise from the previous period. Easing of tensions in Libya, helped support the US dollar against the Euro during the Friday session. Trading at 1.3777, speculators limited their euro exposure leading up to US GDP data. Although the markets are factoring in better than expected figures, recent inflationary talks in Europe continue to unsettle the currency. The debt crisis continues to also plague the minds of traders, with Greece and Ireland possibly unable to repay short term debt.