Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Australian shares added 0.3%, underpinned by gains in materials and energy stocks.
BHP gained 1.2% after it said that its Samarco joint venture in Brazil has restarted iron-ore production five years after operations were suspended because of a dam collapse.
Trading finished early ahead of the Christmas holiday.
U.S. stocks rose in light holiday trading as investors tracked the latest developments on a new coronavirus aid package and the historic trade deal reached between the U.K. and European Union.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session 0.2% higher. It finished the holiday-shortened week up 0.1%.
The S&P 500 rose 0.4% but was down 0.2% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3%, climbing 0.4% on the week.
The stock market closed at 1 p.m. ET Thursday and was shut Friday for the Christmas holiday.
Congressional Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to increase the stimulus checks in the coronavirus aid package to $2,000, a demand made by President Trump earlier this week. Along with Mr Trump’s veto of a spending bill, the moves threw Washington into chaos and raised the possibility of a government shutdown next week.
Gold futures closed slightly higher ahead of the Christmas holiday but booked the first weekly decline in about a month.
Traders of precious metals have been watching the path of a U.S. coronavirus fiscal aid package passed by Congress on Monday but which remained unsigned on President Donald Trump’s desk Thursday.
February gold traded 0.3% higher to settle at $1,883.20 an ounce, snapping a three-session slump.
For the week, gold lost 0.3%, snapping a streak of three consecutive weekly gains, FactSet data show, tracking the most-active contracts.
Crude-oil futures settled slightly higher amid light-trading volumes in the last trading session before Christmas, with investors watching whether a U.S. fiscal package will be signed into law by President Trump.
Commodity investors have fretted that a resurgence in the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. and Europe, in particular, will hurt demand for energy without sufficient aid from the government to stem the economic harm from restrictions on consumer and business activity.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery closed 0.2% higher at $48.23 a barrel.
February Brent crude finished up 0.2% to settle at $51.29 a barrel. For the week, WTI lost 2.1%, while Brent recorded a weekly decline of 1.9%, FactSet data show, based on the most-active contracts. Both contracts marked their first weekly loss since the week ended Oct. 30, Dow Jones Market Data show.
Earlier Thursday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2% in the half-day trading session ahead of the Christmas holiday. Exporters led gains, with financial stocks providing further support. The tech sector, however, weakened after Chinese regulators launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba.
Japanese stocks also ended higher, climbing 0.5%, led by gains in financial stocks in thin Christmas eve trading. Hino Motors, however, fell 12% following news of the suspension of two plants in North America.