The market is down 25. Dow Jones was up 35 and traded within 70 points from its all time high overnight. SFE Futures were down 5 this morning.

The Dow was up 53 at best and down 117 at worst. US economic data was generally better than expected on Friday but markets were cautious in the wake of the government spending cuts (fiscal sequester) that were enforced on Thursday night. Over the week the Dow Jones was up 0.64%, with the S&P 500 up 0.17% and the Nasdaq was up 0.25%. The US ISM manufacturing index was up from 53.1 to a 20-month high of 54.2 in February, beating the forecast of 52.5. Construction spending was down 2.1% in January.

Consumer sentiment was up from 76.3 to 77.6 in February. US vehicle sales were up from 15.23 million to 15.38 million in February. Personal income was down 3.6% in January, but consumption was up 0.2%. European markets mixed — UK FTSE up 0.28%, German DAX down 0.43%, France down 0.62%, Spain down 0.52%, Italy down 1.54%. The eurozone unemployment rate climbed to 11.9% in January, from 11.8% in December. The youth unemployment rate climbed to 24.2%, with the rate in Spain a huge 55.5%. US 10-year bond yield was down 4bpts to 1.84%. Over the week the US two-year bond yield was down by 1bpt and the US 10-year yield was down by 13bpts.

Metals mixed — Copper down 1.43%, nickel up 0.02%, aluminium down 2.38%, lead down 1.94%. Spot iron ore was down $1.10 to $150.60 and down $3.00 over the week.

The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge was flat in February after a 0.6% rise in January. In the year to February, the inflation gauge rose 2.4% within the RBA’s 2%-3% inflation target band.

ANZ job ads rose 3.0% in February. The gains were driven by online jobs advertisements which rose 3.3%, while newspaper advertisements fell by 2.9%.

Business indicators — Company gross operating profits fell 1% in the December quarter. The market forecast was for a fall of 1%.

Building approvals — Australian residential building approvals fell 2.4% in January. The market was forecasting a rise of 2.5%.

NAB’s online retail sales index is up 27% to total $13 billion for the 12 months to January 2013.

  • Sandfire Resources (SFR) — NPAT $79.1m. Revenue of $272.4 million from 34,001 tonnes of copper and 17,626 ounces of gold. SFR is down 1.53% to 645c.
  •  Boral (BLD) — Will merge construction materials and cement divisions into one business. The move will make divisional managing director of construction materials redundant on July 1. BLD is down 0.49% to 510.5c.
  • Fairfax (FXJ) – The Age and SMH broadsheets are now tabloid. The launch of the weekday “compact” edition of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will make the newspapers the size of a tabloid in response to feedback from readers. FXJ is up 0.88% to 57.5c.

Peter Fray

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