Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks ended mostly higher, getting a boost on a robust ADP jobs report. The 10-year Treasury yield note edged down to 1.47% from 1.48%. The WSJ Dollar Index rose 0.24% to 87.02. U.S. oil prices ended higher after a fall in U.S. inventories. Gold settled higher for the session and quarter but logged losses for the month and the first half of the year.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2% higher as the local benchmark followed a mildly positive lead from U.S. stocks. Shares in eight of the 12 largest companies by market capitalization rose. The ASX 200 is less than 0.1% higher so far this week.
U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range, with the major indexes closing out the quarter at record highs following a June rally powered by technology stocks.
The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, marking the benchmark index’s 34th record close of the year. The index is now up 14.4% in 2021, representing the largest first-half gain in a year since the first half of 2019. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged back from Tuesday’s record close, declining 0.2%. The index still rose for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Gold futures turned positive to end higher for the session and quarter but finished the month and first half of 2021 with losses.
August gold closed up 0.5% at $1,771.60 an ounce on Comex after futures were lower earlier in the session and settled down 1% on Tuesday.
Bullion booked a June loss of more than 7%, a roughly 5% gain in the second quarter, and a 6.6% decline in the first half of the year, based on the most active contract.
Oil futures ended in positive territory, but were off session highs, after the government data showed another drop in U.S. crude inventories as traders await this week’s decision by OPEC+ on output.
West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 0.7% to finish at $73.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, holding gains after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories fell by 6.7 million barrels in the week ended June 25. September Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 0.5% to end at $74.62 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
August Brent crude gained 0.5% to close at $75.13 a barrel. Based on front-month contracts, Brent rose 18.2% in the second quarter and was up 45% in the year to date.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1905 to lows near US$1.1845 and was near US$1.1860 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US75.25 cents to lows near US74.90 cents and was near US75.00 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from 110.42 yen per US dollar to JPY111.11 and was near JPY111.00 at the US close.
European share markets fell on Wednesday as investors booked profits at the end of the month, quarter and half-year. Auto stocks fell the most, down 1.9%. Inflation fell to a 1.9% annual rate in the eurozone in June, below the 2% central bank target. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 0.5% on Wednesday but rose by 1.4% in June, the fifth straight month of gains. The German Dax index fell by 1.0% on Wednesday and the UK FTSE index lost 0.7%. In the London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 1.3% and BHP lost 1.0%.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.1% lower as falls in pharmaceutical and food stocks offset gains in tech shares. The Nikkei has fallen 1.3% in the second quarter but has gained 4.9% year to date.
Chinese stocks ended the session higher, resuming a recent uptrend after a weak performance Tuesday. Official PMI data earlier showed a slower expansion in China’s factory and service activity in June, which could bolster hopes of continued policy support.
Gains were led by electronics and IT-related sectors. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.5% higher, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.0%, and the ChiNext Price Index added 2.1%.