Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks rose, for the most part, on hopes for a stimulus deal. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked higher to 0.94%. The WSJ Dollar Index slipped to 86.12. Oil futures settled higher on expectations OPEC+ will extend output cuts. Gold prices rose for the second session in a row.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat as gains by the heavyweight materials sector offset weakness elsewhere. The benchmark ground back toward parity following the release of data showing Australia’s economy emerged in the 3Q from its short-lived recession.
U.S. stocks closed mostly higher after struggling to find direction for most of the day.
All three major U.S. indexes tumbled after the opening bell before paring losses.
By mid-afternoon, after signs emerged that lawmakers were willing to engage in stimulus talks, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped into positive territory. The blue-chip index as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York had risen 0.2%. The S&P 500 also gained 0.2%, setting a fresh closing record.
The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, dropped less than 0.1%.
Gold futures ended higher for a second straight session, with bullion buoyed by the revival of talks on a new U.S. coronavirus relief package, even as a rise in Treasury yields looks to offset the metal’s price gains.
February gold climbed 0.6% to settle at $1,830.20 an ounce, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 23, FactSet data show.
Oil futures settled higher as traders bet that the OPEC+ alliance will extend output cuts into the new year and U.S. government data revealed a decline in domestic crude inventories for a second week in a row.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose 1.6% to settle at $45.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. February Brent crude, the global benchmark, added nearly 1.8% at $48.25 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mostly stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.2039 to highs near US$1.2110 and was near US$1.2105 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US73.50 cents to session highs near US74.10 cents at the US close. The Japanese yen held between 104.37 yen per US dollar and JPY104.74 and was near JPY104.45 at the US close.
European share markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 0.1% and Germany’s Dax index lost 0.5%. But the UK FTSE index jumped 1.2% after the UK became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Investors also kept an eye on Brexit talks. UK-listed shares of Rio Tinto (+4.8%) and BHP (+5.6%) both rose.
Earlier Wednesday, China’s major stock benchmarks ended mixed, with banks and automakers leading the declines and home appliance stocks making gains. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1%. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.2%, while the ChiNext Price Index was off 0.6%.
The Hang Seng Index lost 0.1%, weighed down by technology shares.
The Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.1%, supported by financial and transportation stocks.