ASX 200 to open lower as caution prevails

We’ve seen a slight squaring off of risk plays, with equities marginally lower.

Despite the minor selling, most asset classes just continue to maintain some fairly tight ranges as global markets remain in a lull phase. US fiscal negotiations are also keeping some investors at bay and prompting some caution in most asset classes. There was limited reaction to a US durable goods report which came in at +0.1% versus 0% expected. New home sales data also came in relatively in line with consensus.

Moves in the FX space were also disjointed, with no dominant themes in place. GBP/USD was by far the most impressive in the risk FX space as it rallied back above 1.60 to a high of 1.609. Meanwhile USD/JPY is testing some key support in the 98.50 region and this will certainly weigh on the Nikkei at the open today. As it stands we are calling the Nikkei down 0.6% at 14,533, with no major data to look out for apart from the weekly fund flows.

Event risk ramps up later today when we get the UK current account, US unemployment claims and revised GDP. We also have US pending home sales and Fed member Stein set to hit the wires.

Ahead of the open, we are calling the ASX 200 down 0.3% at 5,263. This essentially mirrors the losses we saw in the US. However, there will be some bright spots, with BHP’s ADR pointing up 0.2% to 36.07 after iron ore put on 0.8%. Iron ore has been quite resilient, while gold finally broke its losing streak.

Gold also had a good session as the US dollar lost some of its shine. This will give some of the gold names a bit of a kicker. Company news remains limited and focus is likely to remain on macro themes. Locally we don’t have any major releases for the rest of the week.

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