A holiday-shortened week looked poised for a positive start, with gains in key sectors helping to offset a mixed end on Wall Street on Friday.

ASX Futures Contracts firmed 27 points or 0.36%, signaling an early rebound from the S&P/ASX 200’s first losing week in a month. Australia’s benchmark index fell 0.2% last week in choppy trade as global markets braced for higher rates.

On Friday, US stocks closed mixed but mostly down. Oil, gold, nickel and zinc rallied. Iron ore, copper and aluminum declined.

Wall Street

A week-long pullback in growth stocks weighed on the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 as investors continued to dump companies whose earnings prospects were most threatened by higher rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose as the financial sector seized the opportunity to increase its margins.

the Nasdaq Compound lose 186 points or 1.34%. the S&P500 lost 12 points or 0.27%. the Dow put on 138 points or 0.4 percent.

Friday’s stock continued a trading theme established on Tuesday when Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard revealed that the central bank is seriously considering tightening monetary policy to contain inflation. Brainard said the bank intends to reduce its balance sheet by US$95 billion each month and may raise rates by as much as 50 basis points at more than one meeting this year.

“We are still of the opinion that nothing really major happened this week other than the remarks [from Brainard] Tuesday morning, and the last few days have been a function of digesting his words,” wrote Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge.

While all major indexes fell last week, the Dow Jones outperformed the Nasdaq, with value stocks holding up better on the sell-off than growth stocks. The Dow fell 0.28%, compared to a loss of 3.86% for the Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 lost 1.27%.

“We are entering a very long-term and significant period of value above growth,” David Bahnsen, chief investment officer at wealth manager Bahnsen Group, told Reuters. “Growth is overvalued and value is undervalued,” he added.

Tech stocks sold again Friday. Nvidia fell 4.5%, Tesla 3%, Alphabet 1.91% and Microsoft 1.46%.

On the Dow, gains at Home Depot, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase helped offset declines at Apple, Intel and Microsoft. The Russell 1000 Value Index gained 0.51%, compared to a loss of 1.09% for the Russell 1000 Growth Index.

Health care Giants Merck and UnitedHealth were among the week’s best performers as investors sought stable earnings in a slowing economy. Merck gained 5% for the week, UnitedHealth 6.5%.

Australian Perspectives

Futures traders identified enough positives in Friday’s US stock to anticipate a positive open. Basically, bank stocks and miners rose in a falling market, two areas where the ASX is heavily weighted. BHP rallied in trading in the US and UK (see below).

Energy producers should get off to a strong start after a 2.76% rebound in the US as crude pared a losing week. US Financials gained 1.01%, Healthcare 0.58% and Materials 0.55%.

Three sectors dominated by “Big Tech” finished down. Technology lost 1.43%, Consumer Discretionary 0.97% and Communication Services 0.74%.

the S&P/ASX 200 fell 16 points or 0.2% in a week dominated by central bank rate comments. The week ahead should see corporate earnings return to center stage as a new quarterly reporting season kicks off in the US.

Banking heavyweights dominate the first week of the season. JPMorgan Chase reports Wednesday night. Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup follow on Thursday. Bank of America reports next Monday. Tomorrow night’s consumer inflation report also looms as a potential headwind.

Back home, the market’s most likely move is Thursday’s March job report. Economists expect the jobless rate to fall to 3.9% from 4% in February, continuing the recent trend.

Other Highlights this week include: Monthly Business Confidence, Weekly Consumer Confidence (Tuesday); and monthly consumer sentiment, quarterly construction activity (Wednesday). China releases inflation figures at 11:30 AEST today.

The four days Easter holidays may prompt judicious trimming of positions towards the end of the week. Wall Street takes Friday off but does not recognize Easter Monday as a holiday, meaning US markets will trade twice before the ASX reopens on Tuesday.

Iluka Resources holds its annual general meeting on Wednesday. Bank of Queensland publishes its half-year results on Thursday. Quarterly reports will start dropping this week.

IPOs: A slower week ahead after last week’s surge of new listings. There are only three companies hoping to come out on top this week: Firetail Resources and Narryer Metals on Wednesday, and Osmond Resources on Thursday.

the dollar fell for a third session, trading at 74.56 cents US this morning after hitting 76.62 cents on Tuesday.


Oil rebounded at the end of a losing week. Brent crude settled down US$2.20 or 2.2% at US$102.78 a barrel. The rally trimmed the global benchmark’s loss for the week to 1.5%.

Buyer interest cooled last week as the Shanghai Covid lockdown weighed on Chinese demand and after the White House and International Energy Agency announced substantial releases of strategic reserves.

Iron-ore capped a pessimistic week with another down leg on Friday. The spot price for ore landed in China fell US$1.14 or 0.7% to US$155.50 per tonne. For the week, the spot price fell US$4.48 or 0.8% amid weak demand during a two-day public holiday and with Shanghai in lockdown.

BHPCertificates of deposit traded in the United States gained 0.41%. The miner’s UK stock jumped 2.16%. Rio Tinto fell 0.71% in the US after rising 0.82% in the UK.

Gold sealed a resilient week with a slight rise on Friday despite headwinds that included gains in the greenback and US Treasury yields. The metal for June delivery stood at US$7.80 or 0.4% higher at US$1,945.60 an ounce. For the week, gold was up 1.1%.

“Despite the spike in volatility seen elsewhere this week following the Fed’s hawkish turn, gold remained unresponsive,” wrote Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

Industrial metals were mixed, with investors pricing weak demand from China, supply chain issues fueled by wartime embargoes on Russia and speculation about Chinese stimulus measures.

Reference copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.1% to US$10,304.75 a tonne. 0.3% aluminum shed. Improved nickel 0.5%, lead 0.6%, zinc 2.5% and tin 0.5%.