The Australian market gained slightly since we last wrote our wrap, on the back of better news coming out of Europe and the U.S.
The ASX climbed 37 points (+0.88%) over the last four weeks, to close at 4196 on Friday.
The energy majors strengthened on the back of higher oil prices; Woodside increased 5%, while Santos (ASX:STO) appreciated 1.6%.
The retail sector was the worst performing sector over the last month, not helped by the spate of downgrades coming in the last few weeks of the year.
Billabong (-49.2%), David Jones (-13.8%) and Myer (-8.4%) were the among the worst performing in the sector.
Economic News: What Does it Mean?
In economic news Job Advertisement and Home Loans data were released today.
ANZ’s monthly job advertisements survey showed the number of advertisements in December fell 0.9% from the prior month.
The fifth drop in the six months does not bode well for the official jobless figures, which are slated for release later this week.
Separately, the number of home loans approved in November rose 1.4% compared to market expectations of a 1% gain.
The increase in home loan approvals makes it five months in a row that there has been an increase in approval, likely spurred by diminished prospects of an RBA rate hike.
Overseas Market and Commodity Wrap:
Overseas markets preformed strongly over the last month, and have started the new year off on a positive note.
However late last week ratings agency, S&Ps downgraded the credit ratings of nine eurozone countries, including France and Italy.
S&P also said that they are forecasting a recession in the eurozone, with a 40% probability for this year.
Some of the week’s biggest gainers in Europe were the UK FTSE (+4.6%), the German DAX (+7.7%) and the French CAC (+7.5%).
US markets strengthened, with the Dow (+4.7%), Nasdaq (+6.1%) and S&P 500 (+5.7%) all recording positive moves.
Asia also took part in the global rally; the Hang Seng jumped 5%, however the Nikkei only managed a 1.2% gain over the four weeks.
Commodities also profited from the improved sentiment, with copper (+8.9%) and aluminium (+7%) among the notable performers.
Oil and gold both enjoyed a strong four weeks, with a 5.3% and 2.1% climb, respectively.