Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open lower.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.2% higher with gains in almost every sector. Financials and materials, which together represent about 50% of the ASX 200 by market capitalization, rose 1.3% and 1.9%, respectively. The ASX 200 rose 2.1% for the week, closing at its first record since May 10.
The S&P 500 edged higher in the final trading day of the week, closing out a fourth consecutive month of gains.
The broad-based U.S. stock benchmark added 0.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also gained 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%. The S&P 500 and Dow clinched modest gains for the month of May, while the Nasdaq declined 1.5%, snapping a six-month streak of wins.
Fresh data showed that Americans extended a spending binge in April, as they continued catching up on activities they held off on during the pandemic, propelling the economy.
Consumer spending rose 0.5% from March. The Nikkei Stock Average ended higher as positive U.S. economic data overnight fueled risk appetite. The Nikkei rose 2.1% to its highest level since May 10. Gains on the benchmark index were broad-based.
Gold futures climbed to score a weekly and monthly advance, with prices back above the psychologically important level of $1,900 an ounce.
August gold, the most active contract, rose $6.80, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,905.30 an ounce, following a 0.3% decline on Thursday which marked its first loss in four sessions.
Prices, based on the most active contract, settled at their highest since Jan. 7, up about 7.8% for the month, notching a weekly advance of 1.5%, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Oil futures saw choppy trading, with U.S. prices ending the session lower following five consecutive session gains, but prices tallied a rise for the week, as well as the month of May.
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery fell 53 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $66.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange following five consecutive gains.
Prices based on the front-month contract on Thursday rose 1% to mark the highest settlement since Oct. 29, 2018. Front-month July Brent crude, which expired at the end of the session, climbed 17 cents, or 0.2%, to end at $68.99 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, with prices marking their highest finish since March 11 of this year, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.2132 to highs near US$1.2204 and was near US$1.2193 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US77.33 cents to lows near US76.77 cents and was near US77.13 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen firmed from near 110.19 yen per US dollar to JPY109.75 and was near JPY109.82 at the US close.
European sharemarkets advanced on Friday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.6% to record highs and added 1% for the week. The German Dax index gained 0.7%. And the UK FTSE index was up less than 0.1%. London-listed shares in Rio Tinto (-0.2%) and BHP (-0.6%) both closed lower.
Chinese stock markets finished the session broadly lower amid broad gains in other Asian equities. “The PBOC fixing of the yuan at a two-year high this morning, and its indications that it has no real issue with further appreciation, has dampened spirits in mainland China, ” Oanda said. The Shanghai Composite Index finished 0.2% lower and the Shenzhen Composite Index closed down 0.2%. Meanwhile, the ChiNext Price Index — a measure for emerging industries and startups — rose 0.2%.