Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
Stocks notched gains as bond yields stayed subdued. The 10-year Treasury note yield stood at around 1.69%, down from 1.729% Friday. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.10% to 86.47. Oil prices posted a modest gain after last week’s largest slide since October. Gold prices finished lower as tech stocks rose.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7% higher, ending a run of three consecutive losses with gains in almost every sector. Energy and utilities led the gains amid higher oil prices, with consumer-related stocks not far behind.
U.S. stocks closed higher as bond yields retreated, giving investors some space to snap up tech shares that have seemed less attractive in the face of higher interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.2%.
The Nikkei Stock Average closed 2.1% lower as declines in electronics and auto shares more than offset gains in steel and trading companies. Investors have been concerned that a big slug of fiscal spending will hit the economy just as the Federal Reserve may start to consider when to pull back on the easy monetary policy is enacted at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Gold futures finished lower, with strength in the U.S. stock market led by gains in technology stocks partly to blame for the metal’s fall from last week’s highest settlement since late February.
Gold for April delivery fell $3.60, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,738.10 an ounce after prices saw a 1.3% weekly rise put in on Friday – the second weekly gain in a row.
Crude-oil futures posted a modest gain, finding support after suffering from their largest weekly loss since October.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery rose 13 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $61.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The April contract expired at the end of Monday’s session.
Meanwhile, May Brent crude, the global benchmark, edged up by 9 cents, or 0.1%, at $64.50 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were generally firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1875 to highs near US$1.1946 and was near US$1.1935 at the US close.
The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US77.10 cents to highs near US77.57 cents and was near US77.45 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen held between 108.62 yen per US dollar and JPY108.84 and was near JPY108.81 at the US close.
European sharemarkets rose modestly on Monday. Autos rose for the fifth day in six sessions, up 1.9%. But banks fell in response to economic uncertainty in Turkey. And the travel & leisure sector fell 0.7% with Germany set to extend a lockdown. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lifted 0.2%. Both the German Dax and UK FTSE indexes gained 0.3%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 1.6% while BHP fell by 0.4%.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended higher as companies in renewable energy rallied following signs of increasing government support for the sector. The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.1%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.3% and the ChiNext Price Index gained 1.0%. Companies that engage in the wind- or hydro-power generation broadly jumped as the Chinese government in recent days released several detailed plans to implement its carbon-neutral pledge.