OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open lower.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session down 1.6% to 5960.3 as broad-based losses pulled the index below the 6000-point mark for the first time since Oct. 6. All 12 sectors on the benchmark finished lower, following a U.S. equity market selloff on concerns about the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the global economic recovery.
U.S. stocks rose, rebounding after fresh data showed jobless claims dropped and the economy expanded sharply in the third quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5%, as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York. The S&P 500 added 1.2%. Both indexes on Wednesday suffered their biggest one-day percentage declines since June. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.6% ahead of earnings reports from some of the biggest companies in the technology sector.
Gold futures ended lower for a second session, pressured by the U.S. dollar adding to its gains for the week, while data revealed that the U.S. economy expanded at a record pace in the third quarter.
December gold for delivery on Comex fell $11.20, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,868 an ounce, following a 1.7% plunge for the commodity on Wednesday. Prices marked another finish at the lowest since Sept. 25, according to FactSet data.
Oil futures declined to post their lowest settlement in roughly five months, as rising Covid-19 cases sparked tighter restrictions on activity in Europe and underlined worries about the outlook for the U.S. and global economic recovery.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery fell $1.22, or 3.3%, to settle at $36.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since June 1, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Month to date, prices were lower by roughly 10%.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1757 to lows near US$1.1649 and was near US$1.1675 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US70.75 cents to lows near US70.02 cents and was near US70.35 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from 104.01 yen per US dollar to JPY104.71 and was near JPY104.60 at the US close.
European sharemarkets were mixed on Thursday as investors digested new virus lockdown measures in France and Germany. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell just 0.1%. The European Central Bank held interest rates steady, but suggested additional policy action could come as soon as December. Credit Suisse (-5.6%) posted a 38% fall in net profit. Royal Dutch Shell (+4.1%) announced plans to increase its dividend. The German Dax index rose 0.3% and the UK FTSE index was flat. London-listed shares of Rio Tinto rose by 1.6%, but BHP shares lost 0.1%.
Japanese stocks closed lower after the Bank of Japan kept rates on hold. The central bank maintained its view that the Japanese economy is gradually recovering from the pandemic.
China’s major stock benchmarks ended the session higher as the market sustained a rebound from recent losses for the third consecutive day. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1% higher to settle at 3272.73, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.5% to 2249.57. The ChiNext Price Index, a measure of emerging industries’ performance, rose by the most, ending 1.1% higher at 2699.92.