Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks closed at record levels on stimulus bets. The 10-year Treasury note yield edged up to 0.929% from 0.920% Wednesday. The WSJ Dollar Index recently was down 0.36% to 85.01. Crude oil prices settled at their highest in more than nine months. Gold prices ended higher near the six-week high.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1.2%, recording its highest close since February as the country’s government improved its economic and budgetary forecasts. All 12 sectors on the index rose.
U.S. stocks rose to record levels as lawmakers closed in on a deal to extend a new financial lifeline to businesses and individuals that could support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic’s deadliest phase.
All three major stock benchmarks hit closing records after notching intraday highs in morning trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% as of the 4 p.m. ET close of trading.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.6% while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8%.
Gold futures settled higher, with a steep decline in the U.S. dollar, the Federal Reserve’s ongoing loose monetary policy and expectations for a new fiscal stimulus package from Washington lifting bullion to its highest finish in almost six weeks.
February gold rose $31.30, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,890.40 an ounce after touching a high of $1,902. Prices based on the most-active contract finished at their highest since Nov. 6, according to FactSet data.
Oil futures stretched their gains to a fourth-straight session, as signs of progress toward another round of economic relief by U.S. lawmakers helped to keep prices at their highest levels in more than nine months.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose 54 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $48.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, for the highest front-month contract settlement since Feb. 26, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.2224 to highs near US$1.2272 and was near US$1.2265 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US75.85 cents to highs near US76.39 cents and was near US76.20 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 103.36 yen per US dollar to JPY102.88 and was near JPY103.10 at the US close.
European share markets closed mostly higher on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.3%, and Germany’s Dax index gained 0.8% to its highest level since February. Germany and France said they were set to begin inoculating their citizens with the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine in the last week of December. The UK FTSE index fell by 0.3% as the British pound lifted. The Bank of England retained its policy settings, while Brexit talks progressed. In London trade, both Rio Tinto and BHP shares rose 1%.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average ended higher, as gains in technology and gaming shares helped offset losses in transportation stocks amid continuing concerns over travel demand. The Nikkei Stock Average added 0.2%.
China’s major stock benchmarks closed higher. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.1% while the Shenzhen Composite Index and the ChiNext Price Index each rose 0.9%.