Global markets wrapped up the week on a positive note as investors grew encouraged by news European officials are planning to provide financial aid to the Greek economy should the need arise. The grand rescue which is said to be about 25 billion Euros kick started risk appetite which saw European equities and key commodities head north.
Economic data from the UK saw GDP continue to show steady growth in the fourth quarter rising 0.3 percent against the expected 0.2 percent growth. This represents an annual contraction of 3.3 percent. Euro-Zone Consumer Price Index fell in line with estimates to fall 0.8 percent in January representing an annual inflation rate of 1 percent.
Across the Atlantic, US Gross Domestic Product recorded annual growth of 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter against estimates of a more moderate increase to 5.7 percent. Personal Consumption Expenditures also surpassed estimates rising 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter, against 2.6 percent in the third. Economists had expected 1.4 percent growth. Reuters-Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index failed to meet estimates to print a level of 73.6 from a previous 74.4 - against forecast of a rise to 74. US Existing Home Sales contracted 7.2 percent in January against expected growth of 0.9 percent.
Locally the Aussie dollar has started the week with some mild strength current trading near session highs of 89.8 US cents. Movements on the local unit are likely to be contingent on key data released this morning. Company Gross Operating Profits which is the pre-tax profits earned from business activities is expected to rise 0.4 percent from a previous contraction of 2.1 percent. Current account balance is expected to show a deficit of 17.3 billion in the fourth quarter, against previous deficit of 16.2 billion. Also this morning we have the TD Securities/University of Melbourne inflation projections to be released, which may have some sway on the local unit ahead of tomorrow's interest rate decision.