International equity markets finished with mixed results overnight after Fitch downgraded its rating on Italy from A- to BBB+, and France and China released negative economic data. France’s industrial production in January declined by 1.2% compared to December.
Moreover, China’s retail sales increased by 12.3% in January and February, lower than the 15.2% increase in December. The country’s industrial production missed analyst expectations as it climbed 9.9% for the first two months of the year.
In Europe, the UK’s FTSE increased 20 points (+0.3%) to settle at 6504 whilst Germany’s DAX traded flat to settle at 7984. France’s CAC fell four points (-0.1%) to settle at 3836. In the US, the indices were given a boost after Apple Inc. and financial stocks finished higher.
The Dow Jones increased a further 50 points (+0.4%) to settle at 14447 whilst the S&P added five points (+0.3%) to settle at 1556. The Nasdaq rose nine points (+0.3%) to settle at 3253.
In the commodity space, crude oil for April delivery climbed $0.11 to settle at $92.06 per barrel amid optimism in US equity markets
Gold futures for April delivery increased 0.1% to settle at $1,578 per ounce as investors sought the commodity’s safety after Italy’s credit rating downgrade.
In the currency space, the Japanese yen finished lower after the Prime Minister’s special adviser, Mr. Koichi Hamada, mentioned that the BoJ should consider changing its 2% inflation target.
Today will see the release of the NAB business confidence data (11:30am, AEDT).