OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks closed higher as investors eyed stimulus talks. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 3.2 basis points to 0.87%, a mid-June high. The WSJ Dollar Index recently was 0.24% higher at 87.99. Crude oil prices ended higher on stimulus deal optimism. Gold futures settled lower, but held above $1,900 on signs of fiscal stimulus bill progress.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session down 0.3% to 6173.8, weighed by energy stocks. The benchmark fell 1.5% in early trade to an eight-day low before slowly grinding higher.
U.S. stocks finished higher after wavering for much of the day as investors tracked negotiations in Washington over a fresh stimulus bill.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up roughly 0.5% as of the 4 p.m. ET close of trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 0.2%.
Gold futures ended lower, but comments from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised hopes for a deal on another round of coronavirus aid, prompting prices to hold ground above the key $1,900-an-ounce mark.
December gold for delivery on Comex fell $24.90, or 1.3%, to settle at $1,904.60 an ounce after touching an intraday low of $1,894.20.
Oil futures ended higher, as a fall in U.S. weekly jobless claims to a new pandemic low and progress toward a fresh coronavirus aid package boosted prospects for energy demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery rose 61 cents, or 1.5%, to settle at $40.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December Brent crude, the global benchmark, added 73 cents, or nearly 1.8%, at $42.46 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$1.1814 and was near US$1.1820 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US70.90 cents to highs near US71.24 cents and was near US71.15 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from 104.46 yen per US dollar to near JPY104.90 at the US close.
European sharemarkets were little changed on Thursday with the pan-European STOXX 600 and German Dax indexes both down by just 0.1%. But the UK FTSE index rose by 0.2% after UK finance minister Rishi Sunak unveiled more support for businesses hit by the pandemic. AstraZeneca shares rose by 0.4% after it released a positive update on its COVID-19 vaccine. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto (-0.8%) and BHP (-0.4%) both fell.
Japanese stocks closed lower, weighed by losses in retail, pharmaceutical and railway stocks, amid persistent concerns about the pace of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s major stock benchmarks closed lower for the second day. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.4% to settle at 3312.50, while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.5% to 2243.24. The ChiNext Price Index, which measures the performance of startups and emerging industries, declined the most, ending 1.0% lower at 2673.59.