The Australian dollar took a dive against its American peer after data showed retail sales flattening out in February, missing analysts expectations of a 0.4% rise, and compared to January's 0.3% growth. It wasn't all gloom however, with building approvals up 3.1% m/m in February, beating expectations of a 2.1% rise.
Bears won the day, with the Aussie skidding 0.80% to multi-days low at 0.7622. Australian shares were more muted, falling just 0.1%, while Japan's Nikkei index gave up 0.30%, plumbing a fresh one-month low at 16.030. China's markets were closed today for a holiday.
Wall Street ended Friday trading with handsome profits after the strong payrolls data, with S&P 500 ending up 13 points, or 0.63% at a three-month high. NASDAQ added 44 points, or 0.92%, while Dow Jones gained over a hundred points, or 0.61%.
Oil prices extended their losses today, as hopes fade of a deal this month to freeze global production, with Brent crude futures falling 35 cents, or 0.93% to trade at $38.32 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures shed 43 cents, or 1.17% to hover around $36.36 a barrel.
Investors wait for an array of data later today, with Britain's construction PMI expected to tick up barely to 54.3 in March, from February's 54.2, which would indicate persistent growth in the housing sectors, good news for sterling,
From the U.S., factory orders are forecast to have fallen 1.5% m/m in February, compared to January's 1.6% rise, which would be negative for the greenback.