Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks were mixed as the Dow slipped amid a delay in the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.62% despite data showing a jump in U.S. inflation. Gold prices, however, did benefit from the inflation reading. Oil prices rose after OPEC forecast a bump in demand.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed essentially flat as commodity stocks were again a drag.
The materials sector lost 0.7%, while energy lost 0.7%. The financial sector, however, rose 0.3%.
U.S. stocks wobbled as investors tried to gauge the impact of a halt in the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccines and an uptick in inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 0.2%, stung by a 1.3% fall in J&J shares.
The S&P 500 ticked up 0.3%, hovering near its recent record closing high. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.1%.
Health authorities recommended a pause in using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of blood clotting.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reviewing data involving six reported cases of clotting.
The drugmaker said that it would delay its vaccine rollout in Europe, which had been planned for later this month.
Gold futures also rose, with data showing U.S. consumer prices in March rose for the fourth month in a row and the pace of inflation hit the highest level in 2 1/2 years lifting the metal’s appeal as a hedge against inflation.
June gold prices rose 0.9% to settle at $1,747.60 an ounce, a day after the precious metal logged the lowest finish for a most-active contract since April 5, FactSet data show.
Oil futures climbed, with U.S. prices topping $60 a barrel, after a monthly report from OPEC forecasting a jump in economic activity and oil demand, aided by the U.S.’s $1.9 trillion Covid aid package and the rollout of vaccines, helped buttress sentiment in crude markets.
A report on Chinese international trade also provided further evidence that an economic rebound was taking hold in one of the biggest importers of crude.
However, concerns about a slowdown in the rollout of the Covid vaccine have raised some worries about how quickly the U.S. economy will bounce back from the pandemic.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 0.8% to settle at $60.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1882 to highs near US$1.1953 and was near US$1.1950 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US75.93 cents to highs near US76.48 cents and was near US76.45 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen lifted from near 109.68 yen per US dollar to JPY109.02 and was near JPY109.05 at the US close.
European share markets edged higher on Tuesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% with retail stocks up 1.6%. The export-heavy German Dax index also ended 0.1% higher on robust March Chinese trade data. The UK economy, as measured by GDP, grew 0.4% in February, missing economist expectations of a 0.6% expansion. The UK FTSE index rose less than 0.1% with London-listed shares in Rio Tinto (+1.0%) and BHP (+0.9%) both higher.
Earlier Tuesday, Chinese stocks ended the session mixed, continuing to weaken from a brief upturn earlier this month. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5%, marking its third consecutive session of decline. The Shenzhen Composite Index shed 0.1%, but the ChiNext Price Index, after suffering a worse drop than the other two benchmarks Monday, rose 0.8%. A rebound in food-and-beverage companies was offset by declines in the industrial sector.
Hong Kong stocks ended higher, rebounding from a two-session slide. The benchmark Hang Seng Index edged 0.2% higher as property developers led the gains.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average climbed 0.7% as gains in financial, retail and auto stocks helped offset losses in utility and railway stocks.