Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Stocks ended higher, with the main indexes each gaining more than 1%. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.68%. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.17% to 87.29. Oil gained as shipping remained at a halt in the Suez Canal. Gold prices settled higher but posted their first weekly decline in three weeks.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.5% higher, rounding out its best weekly performance since early February. Telecommunications, materials and tech led, the latter shrugging off the relative underperformance of the Nasdaq Composite. The ASX 200 added 1.7% for the week.
A rally that included shares of banks and energy companies helped push the S&P 500 higher, giving the index weekly gain to end a volatile stretch.
The S&P 500 rose 1.7% as of the 4 p.m. ET close of trading, with much of the gains coming in the final hour of the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added around 1.4%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained about 1.2%.
Gold prices settled higher, but posted their first weekly decline in three weeks, with some hope in the U.S. for further improvements in the economy helping to provide a lift for the dollar, pressuring prices for bullion.
Gold for April delivery edged up by $7.20, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,732.30 an ounce on Comex, following a 0.5% slide on Thursday. For the week, however, it was still down 0.5% based on the most-active contract, FactSet data show.
Crude-oil futures finished higher as a 220,000-ton cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal for a fourth straight day and efforts to dislodge one of the world’s largest container vessels from the critical trade waterway proved unsuccessful.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery, the U.S. benchmark, added 4.1% to settle at $60.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude added 4.2% to $64.35 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, following a 3.8% skid a day ago.
The Nikkei Stock Average closed broadly higher as the yen weakened and concerns eased about higher borrowing costs. The Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.6% as electronics and transportation stocks led to gains.
China’s major stock benchmarks reversed a recent downtrend to log solid gains. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.6% higher, the Shenzhen Composite Index added 2.2%, and the ChiNext Price Index rose 3.4%. The rises likely showed that investors are taking advantage of the recent correction and accumulating blue-chips stocks that had slumped.