Global markets powered higher overnight with green ink lighting up the international leaderboard.
In Europe Britain’s FTSE 100 led the way, surging 106 points (+1.9%) to settle at 5875, whilst the French CAC (+1.1%) and German DAX (+1.6%) also enjoyed strong gains.
Stateside, the Dow Jones put on another 52 points (+0.4%), whilst the broader S&P500 (+0.8%) and tech-heavy Nasdaq (+0.9%) fared even better.
It was the highest close since December 2007 for the Dow, and the highest since May 2008 for the S&P500.
The US manufacturing sector’s expansion continued in March and employment perked up, according to data released by the Institute for Supply Management.
It wasn’t all good news however, with spending on construction projects falling for the second-straight month in February, showing that the sector is struggling to build on momentum from late last year.
The drop was the biggest since July and fell short of economists’ average forecast for an increase.
The Aussie firmed and is now trading back above the US$1.04 handle, whilst the greenback fell the most in two months against commodity currencies after data showed manufacturing expanded in the world’s biggest economy.
Oil rose the most in almost six weeks after the US manufacturing report, signalling economic growth in the world’s biggest crude-consuming country.
Crude oil for May delivery rose $2.21 to settle at $105.23 a barrel on the NYMEX, whilst gold (+0.5) and copper (+2.3%) both closed higher.
In company news, Metcash has announced a restructure of its operations in response to difficult trading conditions.
The company restructure will see 478 jobs slashed as well as the closure of some stores.
Today’s session will bring us important data in the form of retail sales (12:30pm, AEST) and the latest RBA cash rate and statement (2:30pm, AEST). According to the latest financial market pricing, rates on hold is the likely outcome at about a 66% chance.