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Weekly News Summary for March 1-7, 2019

Friday, March 1: US Manufacturing Hits Lowest since Nov. 2016

Activity in the US’ manufacturing sector lost more momentum than anticipated in February and fell to its lowest in more than two years.

Data released on Friday showed the ISM manufacturing index dropped 54.2% last month from 56.6% in January, marking its weakest since November 2016, with a decline in new orders, production, employment, and prices all contributing to the broader index’s fall.

Monday, March 4: Dollar Rises on US-China Trade Deal Hopes

News of a possible trade deal between the US and China send the dollar climbing to its best level on Monday.

The dollar index rose to $96.51 against a basket of six major currencies, its highest since February 22, driven by after reports on Sunday stated that US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could form a trade agreement at a summit around March 27 given the progress in negotiations.

Tuesday, March 5: Target Shares Climb on Positive Full-Year Guidance

Shares of Target rose as much as 6% in pre-market trade on Tuesday as the US retailer followed up robust holiday sales with a positive outlook for the current year.

Target stated that it expects an adjusted EPS between $5.75 and $6.05 for 2019, while it estimated comparable sales to rise by a low-to-mid-single-digit percentage and a mid-single digit increase in operating income.

Wednesday, March 6: Aussie Hits Two-Month Low on Slowdown Concerns

The Australian dollar declined to two-month low on Wednesday as disappointing economic data further supported the slowing of domestic momentum and the prospect for a rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The Aussie fell at $0.7024 against its US counterpart to mark its lowest since January 4 after data showed the country’s gross domestic product rose by 0.2% in the December quarter following a sub-par 0.3 percent growth recorded in the previous three-month period.

Thursday, March 7: ECB to Cut Growth Forecasts and Signal Cheap Loans

Investors on Thursday are shifting their focus on the European Central Bank’s upcoming policy meeting later in the day.

In an effort to prevent an unexpected slowdown from turning into a downturn, the central bank is seen lowering its growth outlook and signaling new stimulus in the form of more cheap long-term loans for banks.

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