Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
Stocks closed higher, with the S&P 500 up about 2.7% on the week. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 3.2 basis points to 1.664% but ended the week lower. The WSJ Dollar Index was up 0.19% to 87.02. Oil prices declined, with U.S. prices losing more than 3% for the week. Gold prices ended lower but tallied a gain for the week.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.1% lower, snapping a five-day run of gains.
Consumer staples were the worst-performing sector. Travel stocks also felt the heat as uncertainty over Australia’s vaccine rollout deepened.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rallied to end the day, with both stock indexes setting new records and notching big weekly gains.
The broad S&P index rose about 0.8% after closing Thursday at its 19th all-time high for 2021. For the week, it was up about 2.7%, its third straight week of gains. The last time it had a streak that long was in October.
The Dow, meanwhile, added 0.9% to close at an all-time high. It rose about 2% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished the day 0.5% higher and had the best performance of the three indexes for the week, up 3.1%.
Stocks have surged this week, led by sharp gains for technology companies after weeks of volatility. Bond markets calmed, with yields dropping for four straight days before ticking higher on Friday.
Gold futures retreated a day after the biggest daily gain of the month, weighed down by a rise in bond yields and a strengthening dollar.
June gold fell $13.40, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,744.80 an ounce on Comex. It ended 1% higher on Thursday to mark the highest finish for a most active contract since Feb. 25.
Oil futures ended lower as global cases of Covid-19 rose in Europe, Brazil and India in particular, prompting prices to post a loss for the week.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell 0.5% to settle at $59.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Global benchmark June Brent crude edged down by 0.4% at $63.04 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1866 to highs near US$1.1909 and was near US$1.1890 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US75.89 cents to highs near US76.39 cents and was near US76.20 cents at the US close. But the Japanese yen eased from near 109.36 yen per US dollar to JPY109.94 and was near JPY109.70 at the US close.
European sharemarkets were mixed on Friday. The pan-Europea STOXX 600 index closed up by just 0.1% after hitting an all-time high at the opening of trade. Health care stocks rose 0.7%, but telecoms stocks slid 0.7%. German industrial production fell 1.6% in February (survey: +1.5%). The German Dax index rose by 0.2%. The UK FTSE index slipped 0.4% with shares of Deliver down 9.8%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto (-1.6%) and BHP (-0.9%) both fell.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.2% higher, led by gains in electronics stocks, as concerns eased about higher borrowing costs.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended the session lower as the market extended the week’s downturn. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9% while the Shenzhen Composite Index also lost 0.9%.
The ChiNext Price Index, a measure for emerging industries and startups, fell 1.5%, its largest one-day decline in nearly a month. Food and beverage stocks and consumer-services providers, two of the worst-performing sectors in recent days, led the day’s losses.