Global markets were mainly stronger overnight, bouncing back from losses in the previous session. In the US the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded to within two points of its record after orders for U.S. durable goods climbed more than forecast in February and home prices increased the most since June 2006.
Equities rose as residential real estate prices increased in January by the most since June 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Orders for durable goods climbed more than forecast in February, propelled by automobiles and a rebound in commercial aircraft, a Commerce Department report showed.
It wasn’t all good news however, as consumer confidence slumped more than forecast this month as Washington’s budget battle soured Americans’ views of the economic outlook.
The consumer confidence index dropped to 59.7 from a revised three-month high of 68 in February, data from the New York-based Conference Board showed today.
Crude advanced the most this year as U.S. orders for durable goods climbed more than forecast in February. Oil for May delivery climbed $1.53 (+1.6%) to $96.34 a barrel on the NYMEX – the biggest rally since 25 December and the highest settlement since 19 February. Prices are up 4.9% in 2013.
Copper rose in London on signs that manufacturing and housing are gaining in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest buyer of the metal used in wires and pipes.
The euro reached a four-month low versus the dollar as investors assessed whether Cyprus’s bailout signaled deeper private-sector losses in bank restructurings.
The Canadian loonie rose for a fifth session against the greenback as oil, the country’s largest export, touched its highest point in a month, prompting investors to reverse near-record bets the currency will fall. Today’s session will see the release of the RBA Financial Stability Statement, at 11:30am, AEST.