Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks settled mostly higher, buoyed by the tech sector. The WSJ Dollar Index climbed to 87.63. Oil prices rose after data showed U.S. inventories fell. Gold prices fell as risk-on sentiment mostly held. The U.S. bond market was closed in observance of Veterans Day.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.7% for a fifth straight gain amid rising optimism the country has overcome its second wave of Covid-19 infections. The benchmark index hit its highest close since late February after four consecutive days without a locally transmitted case. Every sector rose.
Technology shares lifted major indexes, retaking the lead from the cyclical shares that had rallied in recent days on promising vaccine news.
The S&P 500 rose 0.8%, led by its information-technology sector, as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 2%, a reversal after two days in the red, with the help of heavily weighted big tech stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.1%. The blue chips briefly rose above their all-time closing high from February in early trading before dropping back.
Gold futures settled lower, with the precious metal relinquishing some of the modest recovery from the previous session amid a trifecta of headwinds: a stronger U.S. dollar, rising stocks and higher bond yields.
December gold fell 0.8% to settle at $1,861.60 an ounce. Prices stand around 4.6% lower for the week so far.
Oil futures tallied a modest gain, buoyed by optimism over prospects for a Covid-19 vaccine and industry data that show a large drop in U.S. crude inventories.
Prices, however, settled near the day’s lows as traders fretted over lower demand expectations from a group of major oil producers.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery rose 0.2% to settle at $41.45 a barrel. January Brent crude advanced 0.4% to $43.80.
Major currencies eased against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1827 to lows near US$1.1744 and was near US$1.1780 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US73.13 cents to lows near US72.60 cents and was near US72.80 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen fell from 105.12 yen per US dollar to JPY105.65 and was near JPY105.40 at the US close.
European sharemarkets advanced on Wednesday. The panEuropean STOXX 600 index rose 1.1% with utilities up 2.6%. Shares of German IT house Bechtle jumped 12.6% on the back of strong third-quarter results. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said policymakers will focus on more emergency bond purchases and cheap loans for banks when it puts together its new stimulus package next month. Germany’s Dax index rose by 0.4% and the UK FTSE index was up 1.4%. UK-listed shares in Rio Tinto fell just 0.1% and BHP shares were broadly flat
Earlier Wednesday, China’s major stock benchmarks closed lower. The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.5% lower, the Shenzhen Composite Index fell 1.9% and the ChiNext Price Index slid 3.3%. Chip makers retreated from their rally earlier this week, while producers of new-energy vehicles broadly fell for a second-straight session.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.8%, helped by insurance and real estate stocks.
Investors are likely to focus on further signs of improvement in Japanese corporate earnings.