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The end of the March quarter is upon us, and despite a few bouts of volatility, a US rate rise and some relatively significant political moments, it has been a good one.

Grabbing some attention today is South Africa’s rand, which was down 1.7 per cent in the wake of President Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire the country’s finance minister.

In Asia, though, Friday looks like being a soggy end to the week with a positive lead from Wall Street unable to meaningfully lift spirits.

Japan’s Topix was down 0.1 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.5 per cent lower with the banks and energy stocks weighing heavily. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.6 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.2 per cent.

Futures tip London’s FTSE 100 to fall 0.5 per cent and for the S&P 500 to retreat 0.2 per cent.

Here is today’s economic calendar (London times):

  • 07.00: Germany retail sales
  • 07.00: UK Nationwide house prices
  • 07.45: France inflation
  • 08.00: Turkey GDP
  • 08.00: Spain retail sales
  • 08.55: German unemployment change
  • 09.30: UK GDP final estimate
  • 10.00: Eurozone inflation
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