Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks staged a comeback, amid strength in tech, to nudge higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked lower to 0.85%. The WSJ Dollar Index slipped to 86.98.
Oil prices fell a bit as the spread of Covid sparked demand concerns. Gold prices settled lower.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% as strength among financial and tech stocks was offset by weakness in the consumer staples, healthcare and materials sectors.
The benchmark index was flat until the final moments of the session.
U.S. stocks reversed early losses to end the day slightly higher, powered by the big technology stocks that have driven much of the market’s rally this year.
The S&P 500 ticked up 0.4% as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.9%.
Gold futures settled lower for a third session in a row, with demand for bullion subsiding in the wake of modest strength in the dollar, as traders weighed a worrying rise in cases of Covid-19 throughout the globe.
December gold lost 0.7% to settle at $1,861.50 an ounce. Prices, based on most-active contract, marked their lowest finish since Nov. 9, according to FactSet.
Oil futures edged lower, with U.S. prices posting their first loss in four sessions, as a persistent rise in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and around the world highlighted worries about crude demand, overshadowing positive news on the vaccine front.
Concerns about unity within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also pressured prices, analysts said.
The front-month December West Texas Intermediate crude, which expires at Friday’s settlement, fell 0.2%, to settle at $41.74 a barrel.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1815 to highs near US$1.1880 and was near the highs in late US trade. The Aussie dollar held between US72.55 cents and US72.97 cents and was near highs in late US trade. And the Japanese yen held between near 103.74 yen per US dollar and JPY104.19 and was near JPY103.75 in late US trade.
European sharemarkets fell on Thursday on fears of fresh shutdowns due to soaring cases of coronavirus. The mining sector lost 1.9%, travel fell 1.7%, oil & gas fell by 1.5% and banks lost 1.1%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.8% lower. The German Dax index fell 0.9%. The UK FTSE index lost 0.8%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto fell by 1.7% and shares in BHP fell 1.9%.
Earlier Thursday, Chinese stocks ended the session higher, as home-appliance makers tracked higher after Beijing signaled policy support for the sector.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% while the Shenzhen Composite Index advanced 0.6%.
The ChiNext Price Index rose by 0.9%. Hong Kong shares settled lower, snapping three consecutive sessions of strong gains. The benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 0.7%.
The Nikkei Stock Average also fell, ending 0.4% lower, hurt by declines in steel and semiconductor stocks.