Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Stocks closed mixed, with the S&P 500 edging higher to a record. The 10-year Treasury note yield was flat at 1.67%. The WSJ Dollar Index was up 0.21% to 87.13. Oil prices ended higher as traders weigh the latest supply update and demand prospects. Gold prices settled with a loss for the first time in five sessions.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.6% higher, its highest finish in about 13 months. All sectors ended in the green, with energy taking the pole position, as the benchmark index posted its highest finish since February 2020.
U.S. stocks finished mixed after notes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed that central bank officials reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the markets and the economy.
The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% to a fresh record. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average wobbled before gaining less than 0.1%.
Gold futures settled with a modest decline after posting gains in each of the past four trading sessions, but some experts forecast a recovery for bullion prices as questions about the state of the economy and lofty stock-market valuations persist.
June gold fell $1.40, or nearly 0.1%, to settle at $1,741.60 an ounce on Comex, after gaining 0.8% on Tuesday. In electronic trading shortly after the release of the Fed minutes, prices were at $1,737.50.
Oil prices ended higher, shaking off an earlier decline, as traders parsed U.S. government data showing a more-than-3-million-barrel decline in crude inventories and a bigger-than-expected climb in gasoline inventories.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery tacked on 0.7% to settle at $59.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. June Brent crude, the global benchmark, added 0.7% to $63.05 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1912 to lows near US$1.1860 and was near US$1.1870 at the US close. The Aussie
dollar fell from highs near US76.63 cents to lows near US76.00 cents and was near US76.10 cents at the US close. But the Japanese yen rose from near 109.93 yen per US dollar to JPY109.60 and was near JPY109.80 at the US close.
European sharemarkets were mixed on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 0.2% from record highs, with health care stocks shedding 0.9%. The German Dax index also fell by 0.2% from all-time highs. But the UK FTSE index gained 0.9%, boosted by a weakening of the British pound against the US dollar and optimism over the swift progress of vaccine rollouts across the UK. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto and BHP, both rose by 2.1%.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.1% higher as gains in electronics stocks helped offset losses for pharmaceutical and financial stocks.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended the session lower, as the market continued to weaken from a broad upturn last week. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined 0.4%. The ChiNext Price Index, a measure for emerging industries and startups, shed 0.9%.
The consumer-service sector and food-and-beverage stocks led the declines, extending losses from Tuesday. Automakers, erasing gains over the past session, further weighed on the market.