OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks were dragged lower by weakness amid large tech firms. After four straight days of declines, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note edged higher to 0.589% at market close. The WSJ Dollar Index fell 0.37% to 89.34. Oil prices rose amid weakness in the dollar. Gold prices hit a new high amid coronavirus-driven caution in the markets.
Australia’s benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 closed 1.2% lower at 6024.0, giving up the last of their weekly gains amid continued coronavirus worries. Nearly every sector lost ground as the benchmark index finished the week down by 0.2%.
Shares of technology heavyweights dragged U.S. stocks lower, leaving major indexes with weekly declines.
The S&P 500 ticked down about 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost roughly 0.7%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.9%.
The week has been marked by big swings among shares of individual companies and rotation between some of the market’s recent winners and losers. The information technology sector one of the market’s biggest winners this year-was one of the biggest laggards of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors.
Gold prices rose to a new closing record for the first time since 2011, extending a summer surge fueled by nervous investors adding bullion to their portfolios as the coronavirus muddies the global economic outlook.
Most actively traded gold futures, for delivery next month, rallied 0.4% to $1,897.50 a troy ounce, climbing for the sixth consecutive session and eclipsing their August 2011 peak of $1,891.90. Gold came close to topping the high on Thursday and has risen steadily since the end of 2018, spurred by trade tensions and the pandemic pushing investors toward safer assets.
U.S. benchmark oil prices ended the session 0.5% higher and finished with a 1.3% weekly rise as further weakness in the dollar and U.S.-China geopolitical concerns continued to buoy the market.
WTI’s strength came despite bearish data from Baker Hughes showing the U.S. oil rig count rose for the first time in 19 weeks.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.1580 to highs near US$1.1656 and was near US$1.1654 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US70.64 cents to highs near US71.06 cents and was near US71.03 cents at the US close. The Japanese yen lifted from levels near 106.42 yen per US dollar to JPY105.68 and was near JPY106.12 at the US close.
European sharemarkets fell sharply on Friday as escalating USChina tensions and virus concerns weighed on investor sentiment. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 1.7% lower and the German Dax index fell 2%, despite eurozone data showing business activity in the bloc had returned to growth in July. The UK FTSE index was down 1.4% with London-listed shares in Rio Tinto also 1.4% lower and shares in BHP fell 1.8%.
Earlier Friday, mainland China’s stock market benchmarks fell sharply as tensions between the U.S. and China escalated. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.9% lower at 3196.77, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index shed 5.0% and the ChiNext Price Index, a barometer of investor sentiment in China’s onshore market, slumped 6.1%.