Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks closed lower on concerns about higher capital gains taxes. The 10-year Treasury note yield was down 1.2 basis points to 1.554%. The WSJ Dollar Index was up 0.14% to 86.14. Oil prices reversed early losses to finish with modest gains. Gold prices saw their first loss in three sessions.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.83% following strength shown in U.S. markets.
U.S. stocks turned lower on news reports that President Biden is considering nearly doubling capital-gains taxes on the wealthy.
Major indexes had been wavering between small gains and losses for much of the session before the swift shift in sentiment. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite all fell 0.9% in 4 p.m. trading.
Bloomberg News reported in the afternoon that Mr Biden is planning a capital gains tax increase to as high as 39.6%, an increase from the current 20%. All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 traded lower on the report.
Gold futures finished lower for the first time in three sessions, after pushing to a nearly two-month high a day earlier, as investors weighed surging Covid-19 cases — particularly in Asia.
Gold for June delivery lost $11.10, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,782 an ounce on Comex.
Oil futures finished with a slight gain after falling to their lowest intraday levels in more than a week before reversing course, as traders tried to assess the impact on energy demand of the recent surge in Cocid-19 cases in Asia in particular.
West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery tacked on 0.1% to settle at $61.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after tapping a low at $60.61. June Brent crude, the global benchmark, added 0.1% at $65.55 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.2066 to lows near US$1.1994 and was near US$1.2015 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US77.62 cents to lows near US76.93 cents and was near US77.05 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from near 107.82 yen per US dollar to JPY108.22 and was near JPY107.95 at the US close.
European sharemarkets rose on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lifted 0.7%, with the utility sector up 2.2%. Food giant Nestle (+2.9%) reported its strongest quarterly sales growth in 10 years. The European Central Bank kept its monetary policy unchanged. The German Dax index gained 0.8% and the UK FTSE 100 index was higher by 0.6%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto rose by 0.5% while shares in BHP lifted by 0.4%.
The Nikkei Stock Average extended early gains to close 2.4% higher, supported by chemical and pharmaceutical stocks.
Chinese stocks ended the session mixed for a second day, as the market’s range-bound trading continues.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2% while the Shenzhen Composite Index edged up by 0.5%.
The ChiNext Price Index, a measure for the performance of emerging industries and startups, showed the strongest momentum, closing 0.8% higher.
Steel producers were the top gainers, as the price of steel soared following China’s latest surprise move to cut production in a key supply region.