Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks wobbled as the economic picture dimmed. The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 3.4 basis points to 0.907%. The WSJ Dollar Index recently was down 0.23% to 85.80. Crude oil prices ended sharply higher on demand hopes. Gold prices ended lower for a second session on expectations for a U.S. vaccine rollout.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7%, wiping out the benchmark’s narrow 2020 gains. With 13 sessions remaining, the ASX 200 is flat for the year.
U.S. stocks wobbled, with major indexes hovering between small gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York. The S&P 500 lost 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5%.
Gold futures settled modestly lower, with the haven metal posting a second consecutive decline, pressured by the potential rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. which may support the economic recovery.
February gold fell $1.10, or nearly 0.1%, to settle at $1,837.40 an ounce, the lowest finish for a most-active contract since Dec. 2, acording to FactSet data.
Oil futures settled higher, with the global Brent crude benchmark above $50 for the first time in nine months on progress toward a U.S. Covid-19 vaccine that may lead to a boost in the economy next year.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose $1.26, or 2.8%, to settle at $46.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark, February Brent crude, rose $1.39, or 2.8%, to $50.25 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies rose against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.2080 to highs near US$1.2155 and was near US$1.2135 in late US trade. The Aussie
dollar rose from near US74.55 cents to highs (30-month highs) near US75.40 cents and was near US75.35 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen rose from near 104.57 yen per US dollar to JPY104.16 and was near JPY104.23 in late US trade.
European sharemarkets were mixed on Thursday. The panEuropean STOXX 600 index fell by 0.4%. But while the German Dax index eased 0.3%, the UK FTSE index gained 0.5%. The European
Central Bank increased the overall size of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme by 500 billion euros, in line with market expectations and also extended the scheme by nine months to March 2022. But the ECB forecast a slower rebound in growth in 2021 of 3.9%. The European Union summit began and UK-EU trade talks continue. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto rose by 2.9% with BHP up by 3.2% in response to a 5% lift in the iron ore price.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.2% lower, dragged by declines in electronic stocks, one day after the benchmark index rose to a new 29-year high.
China’s major stock benchmarks closed a tad higher, driven up mainly by steel companies. The Shanghai Composite Index gained less than 0.1% while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.1% and the ChiNext Price Index rose 0.8%.