OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks were mixed, but the S&P edged higher to a new record. The WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.27% to 88.29. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes ticked down to 0.682%, from 0.708% Friday. Oil prices reached their highest point since March 5. Gold prices benefited from weakness in Treasury yields and the dollar.
Australian shares settled 0.8% lower at 6076.4, with nearly every sector losing ground amid a raft of corporate earnings. The financial sector weighed heaviest on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, losing 1.7% after Bendigo and Adelaide Bank said FY profit fell 49%.
The S&P 500 ticked higher, extending a gradual August rally that has pushed the benchmark to the cusp of a new high.
The broad-based index rose 0.3% to 3382, just a few points below its record closing high from February, before the corona-virus pandemic ravaged financial markets. In recent days, the S&P 500 has repeatedly approached the record but stopped short of notching a new close.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1%.
Gold prices rallied, with the gain helping the precious metal put in the best one-day gain in about four months on the back of a slide in government bond yields and the U.S. dollar.
But the yellow metal also may have drawn additional interest after a public filing that offered a peek of holdings of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed that the conglomerate had taken a new stake last quarter in the world’s second-largest gold miner, Barrick Gold.
U.S. oil prices settled at their highest closing price since March 5, ending 2.1% higher at $42.89 a barrel.
Investors turned bullish on reports that major oil producers from the OPEC-plus group were 97% compliant last month with emergency production cuts aimed at offsetting the demand-destroying effects of corona-virus.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1830 to highs near US$1.1880 and was near US$1.1870 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US71.70 cents to highs near US72.25 cents and was near US72.20 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen lifted from near 106.60 yen per US dollar to JPY105.93 and was near JPY106.00 at the US close.
European share-markets finished higher on Monday. Shares in miners rose 1.7% after fresh liquidity injections by the People’s Bank of China. But shares in travel & leisure stocks fell 1.5% after fresh quarantine measures by a number of European countries. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.3%. The German Dax index rose by 0.2%. And the UK FTSE index gained 0.6%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto rose by 1.7% and shares in BHP closed higher by 1.4%.
Chinese markets strengthened further. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index maintained gains for the third straight session, closing 2.3% higher at 3438.80.
The Shenzhen Composite Index grew 1.9% to 2287.34, while the ChiNext Price Index climbed 1.0% to 2696.39. Financial and defense stocks were among the best-performing.
Japanese stocks ended lower, dragged by falls in pharmaceutical and electronic stocks, amid continuing uncertainty over the pace of a recovery from the corona-virus pandemic.