It’s April already and as we head back to work after Easter, we hope you enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing holiday weekend.

Expectations of interest rate cuts later this year in Australia and the United States are fuelling activity in the markets right now. The S&P/ASX 200 ended March on another all-time high. Mining shares are driving the market with gold, iron ore and lithium all rebounding. In particular, gold’s rise and rise saw it close at its highest ever US$2,230 an ounce as investors seek a safe haven from geopolitical tensions and interest rate falls.

In the US, the month was slightly less active for markets but since the beginning of the year, the S&P500 has put on just over 10%, the Nasdaq more than 9% and the Dow 5.6%.

The Australian dollar continues to fall with the just released CPI figures for February unchanged from the previous two months at 3.4%. Meanwhile the US dollar is strengthening.

Amid the mixed bag of economic indicators, household wealth has risen for the fifth straight quarter, up by 2.8%. That’s largely due to house price increases but share market growth has also played a part.

Retail turnover rose 0.3% in February thanks to the Taylor Swift phenomenon with her sell-out concerts in Sydney and Melbourne boosting spending. Taking Swift out of the equation, spending has stagnated after the excitement of the Christmas sales.

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