International markets advanced on Friday night with gains across Europe and the US.
The FTSE 100 added 26 points (+0.5%) to settle at 5768, whilst the CAC (+1.3%) and DAX (+1%) enjoyed even stronger gains.
Stateside, the Dow Jones added 66 points (+0.5%) to settle at 13212 whilst the S&P 500 (+0.4%) and Nasdaq (-1%) weren’t quite as impressive.
US consumers increased spending in February even as incomes rose modestly, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.
Elsewhere, a March reading on the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index came in better than expected, at 76.2, versus expectations for 74.5.
Over the weekend, a stronger reading for a Chinese manufacturing gauge failed to end predictions for policy loosening as analysts described the gain as seasonal and a separate survey showed exporters struggling.
A Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, China’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. In contrast, a PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing contracting and export orders falling.
On Friday night the Aussie dollar settled below the 1.04 handle but this morning the pair local unit has gapped higher against the greenback and is currently buying US$1.0443.
Oil climbed, capping a second quarterly gain, after reports showed US consumer sentiment and spending rose and President Barack Obama cleared the way for new sanctions targeting Iran.
Crude added 0.2% to settle at US$102.93 a barrel, whilst copper (+0.3%) and gold (+1%) also gained ground.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the Melbourne Institute inflation gauge (11:30am, AEDT), building approvals (12:30pm, AEDT), and commodity prices (5:30pm, AEDT).