OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.8% to 6120.0, weighed by energy stocks. The energy sector’s 3.7% drop was the biggest drag on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.
Technology stocks pulled major U.S. indexes higher, as a handful of companies continued to power the newly minted bull market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, adding 47 points, or 0.2%, to 27740. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1%. The S&P 500 rose out of the red as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York, leaving the broad index up 0.3%.
Gold futures finished lower, with downward momentum for the precious metal coming amid a Federal Reserve that hinted at a less-accommodative posture than hoped and a dollar that has gained some altitude off two-year lows in the past two sessions.
December gold settled $23.80, or 1.2%, lower at $1,946.50, after declining 2.1% on Wednesday. September copper lost 4.85 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $2.9745 a pound, a day after the industrial metal finished at a two-year high.
Oil futures ended lower, under pressure after a rise in weekly jobless claims added to concerns about the outlook for demand already shaken by minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting.
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery declined 35 cents, or 0.8%, to finish at $42.58 a barrel, while October WTI, the most actively traded contract, fell 29 cents, or 0.7%, to $42.82 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark, October Brent crude, finished down 47 cents, or 1%, at $44.90 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1866 to lows near US$1.1802 and was near US$1.1860 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US71.36 cents to highs near US72.01 cents and was near US71.95 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 106.12 yen per US dollar to JPY105.73 and was near JPY105.78 at the US close.
European share-markets closed lower on Thursday. The minutes of the July European Central Bank meeting warned, “the breadth and scale of the recovery remained uneven and partial.” A pick up in virus cases in Britain and Germany kept investors on edge. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.1%, dragged lower by a disappointing first half result from Swedish investment firm EQT (-14.5%). The German Dax index also fell by 1.1%. And the UK FTSE index was lower by 1.6%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto fell by 2.6% and shares in BHP were down 3.3%.
Earlier in the day in Asia, the Nikkei Stock Average ended lower, dragged by declines in electronics stocks amid uncertainty over a recovery from the pandemic, further policy stimulus and U.S.-China relations.
China’s major stock benchmarks were lower, with the Shanghai Composite finishing down 44.23, or 1.30%, to 3363.90. The Shenzhen Composite Index fell 1.24% to 2225.72 while the ChiNext Price Index ended 1.0% lower at 2587.86. Hong Kong shares ended the session lower as the market continued to weaken. The benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 1.5% to settle at 24791.39. Consumer stocks led the downturn.