Investors are awaiting the release of quarterly GDP figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 11.30am AEST. Analysts expect the economy to have expanded by 0.2 per cent in the March quarter and by 1.2 per cent over the year, down from 1.5 per cent growth in the year through December, which was the slowest rate of growth outside the pandemic since the dotcom crash in 2000.


Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michelle Bullock appeared before the Senate this morning. She said the RBA board “won’t hesitate to move and raise interest rates again” if inflation rises or proves stickier than hoped. She also said state and federal government energy rebates would not meaningfully alter underlying inflationary pressures.

“We try to look through things that are one-off and are going to be reversed,” she said.

Overnight on Wall Street, US stock indexes ended up higher after a US Labor Department report showed job openings were down to 8.05 million in April, the lowest since 2021. The data was the latest in a string of reports showing a slowdown in the US economy, leading markets to expect an earlier start to interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

“The evidence is accumulating that the Fed should begin easing” its monetary policy, said Ronald Temple, chief market strategist at Lazard. “Fewer workers are quitting each month, clearly signalling fewer opportunities to earn higher wages by switching jobs.”

The S&P 500 edged up 0.2 per cent to 5291.34. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite also added 0.2 per cent.

US bonds climbed amid the rate cut speculation. Expectations for a September rate reduction now stand around 65 per cent, versus below 50 per cent last week, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool. Treasury 10-year yields extended a four-day plunge to almost 30 basis points, falling six basis points to 4.33 per cent.

Oil fell to the lowest in about four months after OPEC+’s plan to loosen its production curbs this year deepened the market’s bearish sentiment. Copper slid below $US10,000. Bitcoin topped $US70,000.

“The absence of corporate news suggests a sideways trending market, which seems to be where we are right now. Strong year-to-date returns are a reason for some near-term profit-taking, and certainly some portfolio rebalancing,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.

Oil companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron dropped 1.6 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively, as demand concerns weighed on crude prices.


Bath & Body Works slumped 12.9 per cent after a lower revision to its quarterly profit forecast.

Axos Financial, which has lent to properties including former President Donald Trump’s flagship New York tower, lost 4.2 per cent after Hindenburg Research said it was short the stock because of the bank’s exposure to problematic commercial real estate loans.

Paramount Global lost 4.4 per cent after the streaming firm said it was exploring strategic options or a joint venture for the Paramount+ streaming service.