Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks ended the session mixed as tech stocks pulled the Nasdaq lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 1.29% as bonds stabilized. The WSJ Dollar Index rose to 85.64. Oil prices rose as unusually cold weather lingered in energy-producing states. Gold prices fell as investors noticed a “death cross” forming.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5%, as tech and consumer shares led a retreat from the benchmark’s best close in 12 months.
U.S. stocks finished mixed as investors retreated from shares of many of the technology companies that have powered markets higher this year.
The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 0.6%, dragged down by technology heavy hitters including Apple and Netflix. The S&P 500 ended little changed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, gained 0.3% to post its ninth record close of this year.
The U.S. stock market’s recent rally has shown signs of cooling this week, even as investors point to reasons for optimism ahead.
Gold futures fell for the fourth session in a row, as a death cross pattern formed on the charts. The 50-day moving average price for most-active gold futures crossed below the 200-day moving average, pointing to a potential longer-term downtrend.
April gold fell 1.5% to settle at $1,772.80 an ounce, the lowest finish since late June, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
U.S. benchmark oil prices rose 1.8% to $61.14 a barrel, the highest settlement since Jan. 7, 2020, as Texas continued to experience unusually cold temperatures.
Power outages caused several Texas refineries to shut down or reduce operations, with at least 2.6 million barrels per day confirmed to be shutting down entirely, out of a total of roughly 5.9 million barrels per day of refining capacity in the state, according to a report from S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Major currencies were mostly weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.2094 to lows near US$1.2023 and was near US$1.2040 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US77.69 cents to lows near US77.24 cents and was near US77.50 cents at the US close. But the Japanese yen rose from 106.18 yen per US dollar to JPY105.77 yen and was near JPY105.90 at the US close.
European share markets fell on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.7%. Retail stocks dropped 3.1% after shares of Gucci owner Kering slid 7.2%. The German Dax index dropped 1.1% and the UK FTSE index shed 0.6%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto (-0.4%) and BHP (-0.7%) both fell.
Markets in China were shut for new-year celebrations. Hong Kong’s stock benchmark climbed to its highest level since June 2018, as improved global economic growth prospects lifted cyclical stocks. The Hang Seng Index went up 1.1% to settle above 31000 for the first time since mid-2018, according to Wind. Chinese oil majors and banks led gains.
Japanese stocks, however, ended lower, dragged by falls in electronic stocks, after the benchmark index rose to a new 30-year high on Tuesday. The Nikkei Stock Average declined by 0.6%.