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Stocks rise, Bitcoin reaches record high, unemployment to fall

Samantha Menzies
·Contributing editor
·3-min read
Markets, oil, gold, Bitcoin all rise. Source: Getty
Markets, oil, gold, Bitcoin all rise. Source: Getty

Good morning.

Here's everything you need to know about finance markets for today.

ASX: The Australian share market looks set to give back a lot of yesterday’s gain this morning. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 40 points or 0.6 per cent lower.

Wall Street: Wall Street indexes have closed mixed, with the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 falling despite another record intraday high for the latter and big banks' stellar results on the first day of earnings season.

AUD: The Australian dollar is trading at 0.7725 to the US dollar as at 7.30am this morning.

Oil: According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is up 4.6 per cent to US$62.94 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has stormed 4.3 per cent higher to US$66.41 a barrel. Increasing demand and a decline in inventories helped drive prices higher.

Gold: According to CNBC, the spot gold price is down 0.6 per cent to US$1,736.90 an ounce. Firmer bond yields have been weighing on the safe haven asset.

Bitcoin: Bitcoin has touched an all time record of US$64,829. The past 20 days have been generally a period of recovery for the digital coin, which had dropped to a low of U$S51,000 on March 25. From that point, it has strengthened by more than a quarter.

Coinbase: Coinbase has made a rousing debut on Wall Street, with shares of the digital currency exchange rising so high that the company briefly had a market value over US$100 billion. Coinbase Global Inc's initial public offering happened with cryptocurrency chatter seemingly everywhere.

Bernie Madoff: Bernard Madoff, the financier who was convicted for running the largest Ponzi scheme in history, has died in a US federal prison while serving a 150-year sentence, the Bureau of Prisons says. He had been suffering from chronic kidney failure and several other medical ailments.

Unemployment: Economists expect the unemployment rate fell again prior to the JobKeeper wage subsidy expiring at the end of last month. Labour force figures for March to be released on Thursday are expected to show the jobless rate declined to 5.7 per cent, despite the surprising drop to 5.8 per cent in February. A further 35,000 people are expected to have found work in the month.

Wage growth key: Any improvement in the nation's sluggish wage growth probably rests with Australia's growing services sector. In a new report, the Productivity Commission estimates the services industry now accounts for 90 per cent of Australian employment and 80 per cent of economic output. "If Australians are to experience ongoing wage and productivity growth, it will have to come largely from service industries," the commission says.

Panic buying: ‘Panic-it’s-a-pandemic’ interest rates and rampaging property prices are persuading tens of thousands of first home buyers into the market before they’ve saved the deposit they want. Thinking of stepping onto the property ladder? Here's what you should do.

Job ads: The number of jobs advertised online has increased 75 per cent compared to this time last year when the labour market took a beating from COVID-19. The March 2021 Seek Employment Report saw the highest number of job ads posted in the site's 23 year history.

Lost money: Commonwealth Bank customers have used the bank’s app to locate $481 million in lost, unclaimed or overcharged bills over the last year. The bank said its Benefits finder digital feature has had more than 1 million individual claims since it launched September 2019 with 695,000 claims issued since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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