Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks were higher, with the S&P 500 setting another record as jobless claims fell. The 10-year Treasury yield note was yielding 1.46%, versus 1.44% on Wednesday. The WSJ Dollar Index rose 0.30% to 87.28. U.S. oil prices ended higher as an OPEC+ decision on an output boost was delayed. Gold logged back-to-back gains.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.6% lower amid concern over the country’s latest Covid outbreaks. Only one of the 15 largest companies by market capitalization gained over the first session of the new fiscal quarter, with financial and retail stocks among the losers.
Wealth managers, insurers and regional banks all fell. With many stores closed due to lockdowns, the consumer staples sector lost 1.2% and consumer discretionaries fell 1.3%. Gold miners rose amid risk-off sentiment.
U.S. stocks rose, with the S&P 500 logging its sixth consecutive session of gains. The broad index added 0.5%, closing at a new record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1%.
Stocks have been lifted to record highs from data showing the U.S. economy is growing at a rapid clip, and the prospect of a bumper set of second-quarter earnings at the largest companies.
Gold futures finished higher, supported by opportunistic buying and an unwind of short bets overnight, amid a rise in the dollar to a three-month high, which was pared earlier in the session.
August gold traded 0.3%, higher to settle at $1,776.80 an ounce, after rising 0.5% a day ago. The move on Thursday comes after bullion booked a June loss of more than 7%.
Oil futures ended solidly higher, but off session highs after news reports said a dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia forced the delay of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.
West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 2.4% to end at $75.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent crude, the global benchmark, jumped 1.6% to settle at $75.84 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1880 to lows near US$1.1835 and was near US$1.1845 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US75.05 cents to lows near US74.60 cents and was near US75.65 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from 111.10 yen per US dollar to JPY111.64 and was near JPY111.56 at the US close.
European sharemarkets rose on Thursday. Energy stocks led markets higher, lifting 2.1% in response to higher oil prices. The travel & leisure sector rose 1.9% after falling for four days following a spike in Covid cases in Asia. Also, figures confirmed that the eurozone manufacturing sector expanded in June at a record pace. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lifted 0.6%. The German Dax index rose by 0.5% and the UK FTSE index gained 1.3%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 0.3% but shares in BHP rose by 0.6%.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.3% lower, dragged by declines in information-technology services providers and semiconductor-related stocks, amid caution over the U.S. interest rate outlook.
Chinese stocks ended the session lower, with the aerospace sector and automakers among the decliners, offsetting advances in property developers.
The Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.1% lower, the Shenzhen Composite Index slipped 1.0%, and the ChiNext Price Index was 0.6% lower.
Investors are likely to focus on companies’ first-half earnings guidance in the near term.