Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
Stocks closed higher, with the S&P 500 hitting another record as tech stocks rallied.
The 10-year Treasury note yield declined 0.021 percentage point to 1.64%. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.31% to 86.86.
Oil prices ended mixed, with U.S. prices holding below $60 as demand concerns prevailed. Gold prices saw the biggest daily gain of the month to end at a six-week high.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.0% higher, building on Wednesday’s post-pandemic high and notching its fifth-straight session of gains. All sectors closed in the green, with the materials sector being the top gainer. Mining stocks were strong performers while the major banks rose between 0.7% and 1.3%.
The S&P 500 ended by setting another record, propelled by a rally in big technology stocks.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% to finish the day with its 19th record this year. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite rose 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added roughly 0.2%.
Stocks have started the second quarter on strong footing, with the broad stock market index rising 3.1%. The largest tech companies have surged ahead as the bond market calmed, easing concerns about the high valuations of growth stocks.
Gold futures ended higher to mark their biggest daily gain of the month so far and the highest finish since February, supported partly by a decline in the U.S. dollar and an expected rise in inflation.
June gold climbed $16.60, or nearly 1%, to settle at $1,758.20 an ounce on Comex. That was the highest finish for a most active contract since Feb. 25 and the largest one-day dollar and percentage climb since March 31, FactSet data show.
Oil prices ended on a mixed note, with the global crude benchmark slightly higher but U.S. prices down, as traders weighed prospects for energy demand on the back of the rise in global cases of Covid-19.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery lost 0.3% to settle at $59.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, following a 0.7% gain on Wednesday.
Global benchmark June Brent crude, however, edged up nearly 0.1% to settle at $63.28 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe after the contract rose 0.7% a day ago.
Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1860 to highs near US$1.1925 and was near US$1.1915 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US76.23 cents to highs near US76.59 cents and was near US76.55 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 109.74 yen per US dollar to JPY108.99 and was near JPY109.30 at the US close.
European sharemarkets advanced on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.6%, hitting record highs, with food and beverage shares adding 1.6%. European Central Bank policymakers at their meeting last month debated a smaller increase in bond purchases, according to the central bank’s minutes. German factory orders lifted by 1.2% in February (survey: 1.2%). The German Dax index rose by 0.2% and the UK FTSE index gained 0.8%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto (+0.2%) and BHP (+0.3%) both lifted.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.1% lower, weighed by financial and aviation stocks. China’s major stock benchmarks ended the session mixed, extending the market’s muted momentum this week. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1% higher while the Shenzhen Composite Index slid 0.01%.
The ChiNext Price Index, a measure for emerging industries and startups, gained 0.7%. Gains were led by drugmakers and food-and-beverage stocks, while steel producers built on the sector’s earlier strength, though this was offset by losses of electricity producers and in the utility sector.