OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks were mostly lower to finish off an otherwise strong August for U.S. equities. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was nearly flat at 0.70%. The WSJ Dollar Index was also nearly unchanged at 87.56. Oil prices fell on data showing increased U.S. production. Gold prices were slightly higher.
Australian shares closed 0.2% lower at 6060.5, weighed by health and consumer stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was in positive territory for much of the session before a final hour sell-off. The tech sector continued to post strong earnings.
U.S. stocks wavered, though the major equity benchmarks finished their best month since April.
The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% but still advanced 7% in August. It posted gains in all but five trading days this month. The broad-based index has rebounded in every month since April, when it climbed nearly 13%, after suffering brutal losses in February and March.
In Monday’s session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7%. Those indexes finished the month with gains of 7.6% and 9.6%, respectively.
Gold futures ended higher, buoyed by weakness in the U.S. dollar, but prices still finished a bit lower for the month in the wake of five consecutive monthly gains.
December gold rose $3.70, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,978.60 an ounce. Gold’s latest move comes as the U.S. dollar was off 0.3%, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index , a gauge of the buck against a half-dozen currencies.
U.S. benchmark oil prices settled 0.8% lower at $42.61 a barrel, reversing earlier gains as investors became averse due to a decline in U.S. stock markets and data showing a rise in U.S. crude-oil production.
The Energy Information Agency said in a monthly report U.S. crude output in June rose 4.2% month-on-month as an easing of coronavirus lockdowns may have led some U.S. companies to start turning the taps back on.
Natural-gas prices slid, dragged down by cooler-than-expected weather sweeping across the country and reduced gas-powered cooling demand as the end of summer approaches. Futures for October delivery fell as much as 6% before closing down 1% at $2.63 a million British thermal units.
The Euro and commodity currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1885 to highs near US$1.1960 and was near US$1.1930 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US73.40 cents to highs near US74.00 cents and ended US trade near US73.70 cents. But the Japanese yen eased from near 105.19 yen per US dollar to JPY106.08 and was near JPY105.90 at the US close.
European share-markets fell on Monday as investors booked profits for the month. Financials fell 2.1% after German and Italian inflation data missed expectations. German consumer prices fell 0.1% for the year to August, reflecting a fall in the value added tax (VAT). It was the first annual decline in prices in four years. Travel & leisure stocks lost 0.6% but utilities gained 0.4%.The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down by 0.6% on Monday, but up 2.9% in August. The German Dax fell by 0.7%. There was a holiday in the UK.
Chinese stocks fell, as the market reversed toward the end of the session from solid gains earlier in the day. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3395.68, while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined 0.4% to 2295.49. The ChiNext Price Index, an indicator for emerging industries, dropped 1.1% to settle at 2728.31.
Japanese stocks rose, led by gains in trading companies after news that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has taken stakes of slightly more than 5% in five major trading houses. Investors are closely watching developments over the selection of a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his resignation Friday.