Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks were mostly higher after the release of inflation data and major earnings, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.54%, from 1.58% on Tuesday. The WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.47% to 88.49. U.S. oil prices posted their first loss in five sessions but held above the key $80 mark. Gold futures ended at a one-month high as the dollar and bond yields fell after an inflation report.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.1% lower after a session spent bouncing between narrow losses and gains. Weakness among heavyweight mining and banking stocks offset strength in all other sectors as the benchmark posted a third consecutive loss for the first time since mid-August.
The S&P 500 rose in choppy trading, with the broad U.S. stock index snapping a three-session losing streak. The S&P 500 added 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7%. Traders seemed to shrug off a hotter-than-expected inflation reading and confirmation of the Federal Reserve’s plans to begin reducing its bond-buying stimulus program. Several household-name companies reported earnings.
BlackRock shares rose 3.8% after the money-management company reported revenue and profit that beat analysts’ expectations. JPMorgan’s earnings per share came in above Wall Street’s projections but the bank’s shares fell 2.8%.
Gold futures gained 2%, prompting prices to post their highest finish in about a month as the U.S. dollar and bond yields weakened following a report on inflation in September. December gold rose 2% to settle at $1,794.70 an ounce, following a 0.2% gain on Tuesday.
Prices for the most active contract marked their highest settlement since Sept. 15, FactSet data show. “As signs that inflation is likely not transient have emerged over the last few days between commodity price rallies … increasing wage inflation and price inflation, gold’s role as an inflation hedge has moved back to the forefront,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.
Oil futures lost ground, with the U.S. benchmark slipping away from a nearly seven-year high as prices struggled to hold above the key $80 mark, pressured by concerns over the outlook for global economic growth, as well as oil demand from China.
West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery fell 0.7% to $80.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after tapping a low of $79.42. December Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped 0.6% to $82.92 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1535 to highs near US$1.1597 and was near US$1.1595 at the US close. The Aussie dollar lifted from lows near US73.25 cents to highs near US73.81 cents and was near US73.80 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen firmed from 113.77 yen per US dollar to JPY113.24 and was near JPY113.30 at the US close.
European share markets closed higher on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.7%. Technology shares gained 2.6% with SAP shares up 3.9% after it raised its full-year revenue outlook. The German Dax index also lifted 0.7%. And the UK FTSE index rose 0.2%, held back by a 2.1% fall in banks. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto and BHP, both fell by 1.5%.
Japanese stocks ended lower, dragged by declines in steel and chemical stocks as concerns about higher raw-material costs weighed. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3%. Chinese stocks ended the session sharply higher, rebounding from a broad downturn since last month.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 1.3%. The ChiNext Price Index gained 2.3%, its biggest one-day jump in more than a month. Consumer companies, including hotel operators and food and beverage makers, led the recovery. Metal suppliers and mining firms lent further support.