Friday night’s modest gains on Wall Street were not enough to prevent the benchmark US indices from logging their worst week in nearly four months.
The gains were driven mostly by a budget deal in the US House of Representatives that would avert another government shutdown for almost two years.
The Dow rose 16 points (+0.1%) to 15755, the S&P500 slipped one point to 1775 and the Nasdaq put on three points (+0.1%) to 4001.
Still, the three major US indices suffered a weekly drop of around 1.5% each – their biggest such decline since August.
The renewed volatility has come as investors brace for this week’s Fed meeting, which is likely to result in a scaling back of the central bank’s monthly bond buying program.
In commodity markets, gold continued to gain ground with traders having largely priced in a small reduction to Fed stimulus, beginning in the next few months.
Conversely, oil was weighed down by reports Libya is soon due to increase its crude exports.
In the currency space there was a slight rebound in the Aussie dollar, but it was still down a hefty 1.6% for the week, amid speculation the RBA wants to see the local unit depreciate further.
Today’s key economic focus for the Asian region will be the latest Chinese HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI, due out at 12:45pm, AEDT.