Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks were mostly higher as the recent trading chaos continued to wane. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.14% as more bond traders grew confident in an economic recovery. The dollar was little changed again. Oil prices rose amid a mix of expectations for a partial demand rebound and continued output cuts. Silver futures rebounded partially from yesterday’s steep losses as trading stabilized.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9%, nearing a 12-month high after it erased the remainder of last week’s losses. Property trusts, health, energy and financials led the benchmark index’s third consecutive gain as the governor of Australia’s central bank said the monetary stimulus would be required for some time.
U.S. stocks edged ahead for the third straight session as investors continued to turn their attention back to an improving economic outlook and past the recent drama involving GameStop and a handful of other stocks.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.1% after wavering earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also was up 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slipped less than 0.1%.
Stock markets have rallied this week, shaking off concerns about stretched valuations, the threat of new coronavirus variants and a sharp run-up in silver and a group of stocks popular with day traders. Investors have focused instead on better-than-expected corporate results, progress in coronavirus vaccinations and bets that President Biden will deliver more fiscal spending in coming weeks.
Gold and silver prices settled marginally higher to recoup a portion of losses from a day earlier, as trading for both metals looked to stabilize after silver made sizable moves in recent sessions.
On Comex, April gold climbed nearly 0.1% to settle at $1,835.10 an ounce, after the metal tumbled 1.6% on Tuesday.
U.S. oil futures settled lower, weighed down by ongoing concerns over energy demand. But prices ended the month with a more than 7% gain, with Saudi Arabia set to implement a unilateral production cut of 1 million barrels a day starting in February.
March West Texas Intermediate crude fell 14 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $52.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent crude, which expired at the end of the day’s session, rose 35 cents, or 0.6%, to end at $55.88 a barrel.
Precious metals settled sharply lower a day ago after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the CME Group said they would monitor and tighten restrictions on trade in silver, and gold, with dealers blaming individual investors for using social media platforms like Reddit to drive futures prices in metals higher.
Silver futures for March delivery tacked on 1.8% to $26.889 an ounce, following an over 10% decline for futures in the previous session. Prices on Monday settled at their highest in about eight years.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.2044 to lows near US$1.2003 and was near US$1.2035 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US76.25 cents to lows near US76.02 cents and was near US76.20 cents at the US close. But the Japanese yen rose from near 105.10 yen per US dollar to JPY104.96 and was around JPY105.00 at the US close.
European share markets mostly rose on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.3% with autos adding 2.7% after Daimler (+8.9%) unveiled plans to spin-off its trucks business. Italy’s FTSE MIB index jumped2.1% after former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi accepted the task of forming a new Italian government. The German Dax index rose 0.7%, while the UK FTSE index fell just 0.1%. But London-listed shares in Rio Tinto (+0.3%) and BHP (+0.1%) edged higher.
Earlier Wednesday, Chinese stocks ended the session higher. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8%, its largest one-day percentage gain in more than a week. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.7%, while the ChiNext Price Index advanced 2.2%. Consumer-services providers once again led gains, as investor sentiments remained upbeat on education and tourism companies.
Hong Kong shares settled higher for the third-straight day. The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 0.2%. The tech sector extended its strength and led today’s gains. The Nikkei Stock Average extended early gains to close 1.0% higher, amid some improved sentiment after U.S. stocks rose overnight. Financial stocks were among the best performers.