Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Stocks closed lower following Monday’s records. The 10-year Treasury note yield slid 6.2 basis points to 1.66%, nearly a two-week low. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.24% to 86.97. Oil ended higher, lifted by upbeat economic data and little progress towards an Iran nuclear deal. Gold prices were up a fourth session to mark their highest finish in more than five weeks.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8% higher amid news that New Zealand will allow quarantine-free travel from the country and a surge in Australian job advertisements. Nearly all sectors ended in the green, with energy and utilities being the outliers. Travel stocks performed strongly.
The S&P 500 slipped in late trading after signs of rapid economic recovery propelled it to an all-time high a day earlier. The broad U.S. stock index edged down 0.1% after notching its 17th record close of 2021 on Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3% from its own closing record. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell less than 0.1% and remains down about 2.5% from its February record. Stocks have leapt to start the second quarter on optimism that government spending, vaccinations and the relaxation of restrictions are unleashing a spell of swift economic growth.
Gold futures settled higher, with the International Monetary Fund raising its global economic growth outlook and a decline in yields for U.S. benchmark bonds, pushing prices up for a fourth consecutive session to their highest finish since late February.
The most active June gold contract on Comex gained $14.20, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,743 an ounce. Gold prices logged a fourth straight gain, matching its longest string of advances since a similar stretch ended Feb. 10, FactSet data show.
Oil futures ended higher, finding support as some economic data from China and the U.S. suggest improved prospects for energy demand, and as discussions toward reviving the Iran nuclear deal made little progress.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 1.2% to settle at $59.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, below the session’s high of $60.90. June Brent crude, the global benchmark, added nearly 1% to $62.80 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1795 to highs near US$1.1875 and was near the highs at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US76.05 cents to highs near US76.70 cents and was near the highs at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 110.55 yen per US dollar to JPY109.70 and was near JPY109.75 at the US close.
European share markets were firmer on Tuesday in hopes for a faster global economic recovery. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.7% to record highs. Mining and travel & leisure sectors rose by 1.8%, with food & beverage stocks and automakers also leading the gains. The German Dax also rose by 0.7% to fresh record highs. The UK FTSE index rose by 1.3%. In London, trade shares in Rio Tinto rose by 2.7% and shares in BHP rose by 2.4%.
Japanese stocks ended broadly lower, with auto, pharmaceutical and bank stocks falling especially sharply, as the yen’s recent weakening momentum stalled. The Nikkei Stock Average closed 1.3% lower.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended mixed in their first trading session after the Qing Ming holidays. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 1.43 points, while the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.2%.
The ChiNext Price Index, a measure for emerging industries and startups, shed 0.7%. Industrial companies such as steelmakers and auto manufacturers were among the top risers, while the consumer-service and home appliance sectors tracked lower.