Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks rose following yesterday’s strong advance, with gains accelerating during Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before Congress. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked down to 1.47% during a quiet day for bond trading. The WSJ Dollar Index nudged lower to 86.6. Oil prices slipped ahead of a weekly U.S. inventory report. Gold prices edged lower, posting a third loss in the last four sessions.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.5%, recouping most of the previous session’s losses with its largest one-day gain since March 1. The financial and materials sectors, which together comprise almost half the ASX 200 by market capitalization, each rose 2.0%.
U.S. stocks continued to rally and the Nasdaq Composite hit an all-time closing high. Most major stock sectors modestly rose, extending the sharp gains indexes enjoyed a day earlier. Shares of big tech companies, though, appeared to get the most attention from investors.
The session’s gains came as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continued to reiterate that the recent increase in inflation will likely prove temporary. Speaking before Congress, Mr. Powell said the central bank will wait for actual inflation to take root before raising interest rates.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, putting the broad index just shy of a new record. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8% to reach a new record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose, adding 0.2%.
Gold futures logged their third decline in four sessions, with commodity investors eying congressional testimony by Fed Chairman Powell for hints on the next price direction for the precious metal.
Mr Powell’s prepared testimony “highlights inflation and reiterates the not uniformly agreed to the concept of ‘transitory’ inflation in nature,” said Jeff Wright, chief investment officer at Wolfpack Capital. “Gold is softer given the uncertainty in timing for a future Fed response.” August gold futures fell 0.3% to settle at $1,777.40 an ounce.
Oil futures settled lower on expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, may decide to further boost crude production starting in August.
The most-active U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery fell 0.4% to settle at $72.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
August Brent crude fell 0.1% to $74.81 a barrel after hitting an intraday high at $75.30. Brent last traded above $75 in April 2019 on an intraday basis, according to FactSet. It hasn’t settled at a level that high since October 2018.
Major currencies were mostly stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1880 to highs near US$1.1951 and was near US$1.1940 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US74.94 cents to highs near US75.63 cents and was near US75.55 cents at the US close. But the Japanese yen eased from near 110.34 yen per US dollar to JPY110.78 and was near JPY110.65 at the US close.
European sharemarkets rose on Tuesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lifted 0.3% with mining shares up 1.3% and chemical (+1.1%) stocks at record highs. The German Dax index rose
by 0.2% and the UK FTSE index gained 0.4%. In London trade, shares in Rio Tinto (+1.5%) and BHP (+1.3%) both lifted.
Earlier Tuesday, Chinese stocks extended recent gains. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.5%. The ChiNext Price Index gained 0.3%, rising for the fourth session. The oil sector led the upturn, as Brent crude prices hit a multiyear high. Drugmakers and auto companies gave the market further support.
Hong Kong shares, however, fell for a second session, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index shedding 0.6%. Tech stocks led the declines, as the sector continued to weaken after last week’s rally.
The Nikkei Stock Average jumped 3.1% after Monday’s selloff, as an acceleration in Covid-19 vaccinations raised hopes of an economic recovery. Investors continued to focus on Japan’s vaccination pace.