A surprise slump in US pre-Christmas retail sales renews fears the world's biggest economy is joining a worsening global economic slowdown and sinks Wall Street.
Wall Street rises again on renewed hopes the US and China can resolve their trade war, with reports China's President will himself meet an American delegation tomorrow.
New hopes of a breakthrough in the trade impasse between the US and China see global markets surge, while Wall Street also gets a boost from a potential deal to avoid another US Government shutdown.
Wall Street again has a lacklustre session, but Australian shares are poised for moderate gains on surging iron ore prices as Chinese traders return from Lunar New Year holidays.
A report commissioned by the Australian Tax Office finds the Government may be out of pocket to the tune of billions of dollars each year through the use of trusts to hold more than $3 trillion in assets.
The big banks have pledged to crack down on the misselling of credit cards, but these "commitments" are voluntarily and cannot be legally enforced by ASIC.
There are fears the Federal Government's plan to increase the number of backpackers working on Australian farms will reduce demand for workers from the Pacific.
Apple and Amazon stocks drop after Bloomberg reports that both tech giants have had their systems infiltrated by Chinese spies.
Global markets power ahead, little concerned about trade tensions and buoyed by an improving outlook in emerging economies.
The world's biggest farm chemical company, Bayer, is facing billions of dollars in lawsuits after a US jury found last month the weed killer Roundup caused a school groundsman's cancer, prompting fears among Australian farmers that the chemical will be banned or restricted.