Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session 0.6% higher, as mining stocks thrived amid rising iron ore prices.
The materials sector’s 1.5% rise made it the best-performing sector on the benchmark index.
The ASX 200’s fifth consecutive gain leaves it 0.1% lower for 2020.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped, after hitting a record last week, as investors worried that elevated Covid-19 infection levels could weigh on economic growth through the winter months.
The blue-chip index ended lower by 0.5%. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.5%.
Gold futures settled higher, with prices for the haven metal getting a strong lift from progress toward another coronavirus aid package and the further spread of Covid-19 in the U.S.
February gold rose $26, or 1.4%, to settle at $1,866 an ounce.
Oil futures settled lower, pulling back from a nine-month high as Covid-19 cases continued to surge, underlining worries about fuel demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery fell 50 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $45.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. February Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 46 cents, or 0.9%, at $48.79 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mostly firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.2079 to highs near US$1.2161 and was near US$1.2110 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US73.72 cents to highs near US74.53 cents and was near US74.25 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 104.30 yen per US dollar to JPY103.92 and was near JPY104.00 at the US close.
European share markets closed mostly lower on Monday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 0.3% with bank shares down 2.4% as eurozone bond yields fell. The German Dax index closed down 0.2%. But the UK FTSE index rose by 0.1%. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU President Ursula von der Leyen issued a joint statement saying that a new trade deal was impossible “due to remaining differences on critical issues.” In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto and BHP both rose by 0.2%.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average reversed early morning gains to close 0.8% lower, weighed by aviation and utility stocks.
China’s major stock benchmarks closed lower following a Reuters report that the U.S. is readying sanctions against more Chinese officials over China’s disqualification of Hong Kong opposition lawmakers.
The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.8%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.3% and the ChiNext Price Index ticked down 0.2%. Banks and property developers led the declines.