OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open lower.
U.S. stocks ended lower as jobless claims edged up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked down to 0.581%, from 0.595% Wednesday. The WSJ Dollar Index was 0.02% higher at 89.75. Crude-oil prices settled lower as worries remained over rising U.S. inventories and coronavirus cases. Gold prices settled higher, just shy of a record.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index edged 0.3% higher to 6094.5 despite the government forecasting a near A$100 billion increase in the budget deficit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. stocks fell after the first weekly increase in new unemployment claims since March raised concerns that mounting coronavirus infections and a renewed wave of mandated lockdowns could slow the economic recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 354 points, or 1.3%, as of 4 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 dropped 1.2%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 2.3%, weighed down by a sudden slump in highflying tech stocks like Microsoft and Tesla.
Gold futures ended higher for a fifth straight session, with the most-active contract just short of notching a settlement record, highlighting feverish demand for bullion amid the worst pandemic in over a century.
Gold for August delivery on Comex rose $24.90, or 1.3%, to settle at $1,890 an ounce after trading as high as $1,897.70.
Crude-oil prices ended lower, extending a decline seen the previous session after data showed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories, as alarming growth in the number of U.S. cases of coronavirus point to the potential for further business shutdowns.
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 83 cents, or 2%, to settle at $41.07 a barrel, while September Brent crude lost 98 cents, or 2.2%, at $43.31 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1540 to highs near US$1.1625 and was near US$1.1595 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US71.60 cents to lows near US70.90 cents and was near US70.95 cents at the US close. The Japanese yen lifted from levels near 107.20 yen per US dollar to JPY106.70 and was near
JPY106.85 at the US close.
European share markets were broadly flat on Thursday. Weaker than expected US jobless claims and European consumer confidence data weighed on investor sentiment. Travel & leisure stocks fell by 1.1% but autos rose by 2.3%. After being up 0.8%, the pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.1% higher. The German Dax fell by less than 0.1%. But the UK FTSE index edged up 0.1%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto fell by 0.1% and shares in BHP rose by 0.4%
Earlier in the day in Asia, Japanese stocks ended lower. The Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.6% lower, at 22,751.61.
China’s major stock-market indexes closed the session mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index, which fell to just above 3250 intraday, settled down 0.2% at 3325.11, snapping a four-session winning run. The Shenzhen Composite Index ended little changed and the startup-heavy ChiNext Price Index gained 1.1%.