Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks were dragged lower amid weakness among tech stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury nudged higher to 1.30%, after settling lower for the session. The WSJ Dollar Index fell to 85.39. Oil prices fell amid speculation output may jump, now that prices have recovered. Gold prices recouped some of their recent losses a day after registering a “death cross.”
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended an uncertain session flat. The benchmark index fell in early trading before rebounding to sit 0.3% higher. It then traded in a narrow range just above the gainline for much of the day. Strength in healthcare and retail stocks offset weakness among energy, industrials and utilities.
U.S. stocks dropped, weighed down by losses among technology companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%. The S&P 500 declined 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.7%, adding to losses after a volatile day for tech stocks the previous day.
Stocks have taken a breather in recent sessions after powering higher for much of 2021.
Money managers say they see a number of reasons to stay cautious, ranging from lofty valuations across parts of the market to the pace of the economy’s recovery.
Data Thursday showed 861,000 workers sought unemployment benefits last week, more than economists had expected.
Gold futures settled higher to score their first gain in five sessions after settling a day earlier at the lowest level since June and as a bearish pattern materialized in the commodity’s price chart.
Prices for gold for April delivery climbed 0.1% to settle at $1,775 an ounce after bullion fell 1.5% on Wednesday and marked its lowest settlement since around June, based on the most-active contract.
On Wednesday, the most-active gold futures contract also registered its first “death cross” since June 2018, according to Dow Jones Market Data, with the 50-day moving average at $1,856.46 and the 200-day moving average at $1,857.67.
Oil futures settled lower, pressured by speculation that major oil producers may discuss an increase in production when they meet early next month.
The possibility of extra supply outweighed support from a fourth straight weekly decline in U.S. inventories and ongoing weather-related energy output and refinery disruptions in Texas.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery fell 1% to settle at $60.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching highs above $62 during the session. April Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 0.6% at $63.93 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Earlier Thursday, China’s major stock benchmarks pulled back from an early rally that pushed the blue-chip index CSI 300 to its highest level since December 2007. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.55%. The Shenzhen Composite Index and the ChiNext Price Index fell 0.4% and 2.7%, respectively. Consumer stocks, especially a bunch of large caps believed to have been heavily bought by mutual funds, pulled the indices lower.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 1.6% lower, mainly dragged down by tech stocks. The Nikkei Stock Average gave up early morning gains to slip 0.2% lower amid a general downturn in regional markets as Chinese equities made a tepid return from a long break and investors digested surging U.S. Treasury yields. Financial companies were among the worst Nikkei performers.