Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks closed higher after two days of declines. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 0.4 basis point to 1.566%. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.09% to 86.03. Oil prices ended at a one-week low on global Covid worries and a rise in U.S. crude supplies. Gold prices settled at a two-month high also as Covid’s rise rattled markets.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index pared mid-session losses to close 0.3% lower. The healthcare, industrials, utilities and consumer discretionary sectors rallied into the black after March retail sales rose by more than economists had expected. Tech was the worst-performing Australian sector.
U.S. stocks bounced higher after two consecutive days of declines. After a sluggish start to the day, the S&P 500 rose 0.9% as of the 4 p.m. ET close of trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 1.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9%. Some analysts said the recent stretch of declines was a healthy pause for stocks.
“I think that the market will continue to grind higher,” said Mike Lewis, head of U.S. equities cash trading at Barclays.
Gold futures finished higher for a second session to mark their highest settlement in about two months. Precious metals are seen as a haven against uncertainty wrought by Covid-19.
June gold gained $14.70, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,793.10 an ounce, after rising 0.4% on Tuesday.
Oil futures posted their lowest finish in just over a week as traders bet that rising Covid-19 infections in Asia will hurt energy demand, and as official data revealed an unexpected weekly rise in crude inventories.
“There are a lot of moving pieces in the energy market right now, including raising concerns about global Covid-19 cases derailing the recovery in consumer demand,” said Tyler Richey, co-editor at Sevens Report Research.
West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery fell 2.1% to settle at $61.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. June Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 1.9% to $65.02 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Both benchmarks logged their lowest front-month contract settlements since April 13, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
European sharemarkets rose on Wednesday as optimism about a strong earnings season offset concerns about rising global coronavirus cases. Shares in Hugo Boss rose 6.7% on merger and acquisition speculation. Shares in Italian football club Juventus slumped 13.7% after the breakaway European Super League founder said the league can no longer go ahead. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.7%. The German Dax index gained 0.4% and the UK FTSE 100 index was higher by 0.5%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto rose by 0.3% while shares in BHP lifted by 0.5%.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.20 to highs near US$1.2035 and was near US$1.2030 at the US close. The Aussie
dollar rose from lows near US77 cents to highs near US77.60 cents and was near US77.50 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen held between 107.94 yen per US dollar and JPY108.36 and was near JPY108.06 at the US close.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended broadly lower on growing concerns about additional Covid-19 containment measures. The Nikkei fell 2.0%.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended the session mixed, as healthcare stocks’ gains were offset by weakness in auto companies, as the sector corrected from soaring momentum in the past few sessions. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed flat.
The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.2% while the ChiNext Price Index, a measure for emerging industries and startups, was up 0.7%.