US markets opened the week with tentative gains overnight, as investors shrugged off weak Chinese data and concerns over Ukraine.
The Dow began with a hefty decline, but recovered all of its losses after a measure of US services activity showed the sector grew in April at the fastest pace since November last year.
It wasn’t all positive news, however, with the big US banks taking a hit from JP Morgan, which slumped after warning of a sharp drop in its fixed income and equities revenue in the second quarter.
European equities remained under pressure as the worsening tensions in Ukraine ignited fears of collateral damage to the eurozone economy.
It was a mixed bag in the commodities space, with oil pressured by yesterday’s poor Chinese manufacturing data, feeding concerns of weaker energy demand.
The escalating conflict on the Ukraine border boosted safe haven demand and saw gold rise another half a percent.
Platinum metals also climbed after striking South African mine workers rejected the latest attempt by the world’s three biggest platinum miners to ease the standoff.
There was little action to speak of in currency markets, with the greenback more or less unchanged against its major rivals.
The Aussie will be in focus today ahead of the RBA interest rate decision later this afternoon. The majority of economists are expecting no change to the official cash rate.