OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Australian shares settled 0.9% lower at 6073.8, rounding out a second straight week of losses as the corporate earnings season nears an end. Nearly every sector on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 finished lower, with only the financial and property sectors bucking the trend.
The S&P 500 wrapped up its best week since early July after a moderate pickup in consumer spending and a policy shift from the Federal Reserve that signaled low interest rates would stay for an extended period.
The S&P 500 rose 0.7%, bringing its weekly advance to 3.3%-its best performance since the week ended July 2.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 162 points, or 0.6%, returning to positive territory for the year for the first time since February. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.6%.
Gold futures rose, leaving prices higher to end the week, after the Federal Reserve announced a policy shift that would allow employment and inflation to run hotter than in the past, implying that the central bank may keep benchmark interest rates lower for longer.
Against that backdrop, December gold rose $42.30, or 2.2%, to settle at $1,974.90 an ounce.
U.S. benchmark oil prices slipped 0.2%, but rose 1.5% on the week to $42.97 a barrel, marking a fourth straight weekly rise.
WTI registered most of the week’s gains early on as the looming threat of Hurricane Laura forced offshore oil producers to cut production, and led many coastal refineries to also shut.
China’s major stock benchmarks posted their strongest gains of the week as tourism, home-appliance and food stocks broadly advanced. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.6% to 3403.81, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 2.0% and the startup-dominated ChiNext Price Index added 2.6%.
Japanese stocks, however, fell on reports that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will resign due to health reasons. The Nikkei Stock Average closed 1.4% lower at 22882.65.