Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks finished at new highs after data showed job growth rebounded in October following a summer slowdown. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 7.3 basis points to 1.451%, the lowest finish since Sept. 23. The WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.17% to 88.51. U.S. oil futures rallied back from the lowest prices since October but suffered a second-straight weekly loss.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher, completing its strongest weekly gain since early October. Only the energy and tech sectors lost ground as the benchmark built on momentum from the U.S. Gold miners led the materials sector higher; retail stocks were also strong. The ASX 200 gained 1.8% for the week.
U.S. stocks rose to records after Labor Department data showed job growth rebounded in October following a summer slowdown. The S&P 500 ticked up 0.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.6%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2%. All three indices posted weekly gains and notched fresh closing records. The jobs report showed the labour market is solid enough for the Fed to justify tapering its monthly asset purchases, said Jay Pestrichelli, CEO of investment firm ZEGA Financial. The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.6% lower amid concerns over chip shortages and higher raw-material costs. Steel and shipping stocks led to the losses.
Gold futures climbed back above $1,800 an ounce to post their highest finish since early September. December gold rose 1.3% to settle at $1,816.80 an ounce on Comex, the highest most-active contract finish since Sept. 3, FactSet data show. For the week, prices for the front-month contract ended about 1.8% higher.
Oil futures rallied, rebounding a day after a drop to the lowest price since October, but still suffered a loss for the week. West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery climbed 3.1% to settle at $81.27 a barrel. January Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 2.7% to $82.74 a barrel, with prices down 1.2% this week.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro held between lows near US$1.1510 and highs near US$1.1570 and was near US$1.1565 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US73.65 cents to highs near US74.10 cents and was near US74.00 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen lifted from 114.00 yen per US dollar to JPY113.30
and was near JPY113.40 at the US close.
European share markets were firmer on Friday. Travel stocks rose 1.4% on news on news that Pfizer had concluded a successful trial of a pill to treat COVID-19. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.1% to record highs. The German Dax index rose by 0.2% to record highs. The UK FTSE index rose by 0.3%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto fell 0.2% while BHP shares rose 0.6%.
Chinese stocks ended the session lower, as market concerns began to re-emerge over the financial health of the country’s real-estate sector. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.0%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index shed 0.8%. The ChiNext Price Index held up relatively better, edging down 0.3%. Coal miners led the downturn, as investors remained worried about authorities’ moves to curb prices. Steel and iron ore producers further weighed on the market due to weak steel consumption in recent months.