Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed, while the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 slipped, as Congress continued its work on crafting a stimulus bill. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was flat at 0.90%. The WSJ Dollar Index fell to 85.77. Oil prices rose as Covid-19 vaccines began rolling out, lifting demand hopes. Gold prices fell amid the risk-on sentiment.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also climbed by 0.3%. The benchmark index was led higher by a 3.0% rise from the tech sector, with buy-now-pay-later platform Afterpay surging 8.8%.
Technology stocks climbed, continuing a robust 2020 rally that has propelled much of the market’s gains since March.
The Nasdaq Composite Index, home to many of the U.S.’s biggest tech stocks, outperformed its peers Monday. The benchmark ticked up 0.5%.
The S&P 500 edged lower by 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6%. All three indexes opened higher on optimism that talks for additional fiscal stimulus are progressing and that the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines could help stem the pandemic.
Gold futures fell as a rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. and doubts about another round of relief aid out of Congress prompted the precious metal to mark its lowest settlement in almost two weeks.
Gold’s slide comes ahead of the last meeting of the year for the Federal Reserve, which could also serve as a catalyst for commodities and financial markets broadly.
February gold lost 0.6% to settle at $1,832.10 an ounce. The settlement was the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 2, FactSet data show.
U.S. benchmark oil prices rose 0.9% to $46.99 a barrel, the highest closing price since March 3, on hopes this weekend’s rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, and a potential for more fiscal stimulus, will boost the economy and increase oil demand.
An attack on an oil tanker near Saudi Arabia also lifted prices due to supply risks. But on the bearish side, OPEC said it was reducing its forecast for global oil demand next year.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.2173 to lows near US$1.2122 and was near US$1.2150 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US75.77 cents to lows near US75.30 cents and was near US75.35 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen fell from near 103.51 yen per US dollar to JPY104.08 and was near JPY104.00 at the US close.
European share markets closed higher on Monday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.4%, despite the imposition of new Covid-19 restrictions in Germany and the UK. The German Dax index climbed 0.8% with Eurozone industrial production up 2.1% in October (survey: 2%). But the UK FTSE index fell by 0.2% as the British pound rose on Brexit uncertainty. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 0.1% and BHP shares slid 2.4%.
Earlier Monday, mainland China’s major benchmarks rose on the back of stronger tourism and biotech stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index and the ChiNext Price Index each climbed more than 1%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.4%. Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding each dropped nearly 3% after China’s market regulator imposed fines on Alibaba and Tencent-controlled China Literature for flouting antitrust rules.