Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks closed higher amid mixed economic data. The 10-year Treasury yield edged down to 1.456% from 1.489% Wednesday — its lowest level in more than three months. The WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.13% to 85.15. U.S. oil prices ended higher, with U.S. prices back above $70 a barrel. Gold prices settled higher for a second consecutive session as the pace of U.S. inflation hit a 13-year high.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher to a record, boosted by shares of tech companies, online advertisers, and banks. Rebounding from a 0.3% decline the previous session, the benchmark moved into positive territory for the week. The materials sector closed flat and energy was the sole loser with a 1.1% fall.
U.S. stocks edged higher after data showed another leap in consumer prices and a continuing recovery in the labour market as the economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The S&P 500 ticked up 0.5% to close at a new record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1%, and the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.8%. All three gauges edged slightly lower on Wednesday. Consumer prices rose 5% in May from a year earlier, the Labor Department said, marking the highest annual inflation rate in nearly 13 years.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.3% higher, as gains in electronics and steel stocks outweighed losses in tech shares. The broader Topix index ended flat at 1956.73.
Gold prices settled modestly higher as government data — showing that the pace of U.S. inflation climbed to a 13-year high in May — prompted prices to tally a second straight gain.
Gold for August delivery edged up nearly 0.1% to settle at $1,901.20 an ounce, following a nearly 0.1% rise on Wednesday.
Oil futures ended higher, with U.S. prices back above $70 a barrel as traders digested the latest data on domestic petroleum supplies and demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery rose 0.5% to settle at $70.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after trading as low as $68.68. Front-month prices marked a more than two-year high, settling at a level not seen since October 2018, according to Dow Jones Market Data. August Brent crude, the global benchmark, added 0.4% at $72.52 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the highest since May 2019.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration lifted sanctions on more than a dozen former Iranian officials and energy companies.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.2191 to lows near US$1.2143 and was near US$1.2175 at the US close. The Aussie
dollar rose from lows near US77.21 cents to highs near US77.63 cents and was near US77.55 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen firmed from near 109.77 yen per US dollar to JPY109.30 and was near JPY109.32 at the US close.
European sharemarkets were mixed on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was little changed near record highs. The European Central Bank (ECB) left interest rates and asset purchases unchanged at its meeting. The German Dax index fell by 0.1%, but the UK FTSE index rose by 0.1%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto fell by 0.6% while shares in BHP added 0.1%.
Chinese stock markets finished the session higher, supported by automakers and new-energy sectors. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.5% higher, the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 1.1%, and the ChiNext Price Index, which measures emerging industries and startups, closed 2.4% higher.