Australian shares look set for an open higher following slight gains on Wall Street on Monday.
In futures trading, the SPI200 futures contract was up 21 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 6,158 points at 0730 AEST, pointing to a higher open for the Australian stock market on Tuesday.
U.S. stocks closed higher in the final hour of trading, led by technology stocks.
Major indexes spent much of the session in the red as escalating trade rhetoric and downbeat manufacturing readings curbed appetite for risk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as much as 194 points, before turning modestly higher. Technology stocks, which have powered the market in 2018, led the charge again with Facebook, Apple and Google parent Alphabet climbing more than 1%.
Trading volumes, meanwhile, were relatively light in a holiday-shortened week.
The Dow industrials inched up 36 points, or 0.2%, to 24307. The S&P 500 climbed 0.3%, while its tech sector gained 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8%.
Stocks have searched for direction in recent sessions as trade rhetoric between the U.S. and its partners’ ramps up. Analysts pointed to continued uncertainty around global trade as a catalyst for Monday’s moves but also noted the tariffs are relatively small in size.
Gold for August delivery fell 0.8% to $1,244.80 a troy ounce on a stronger U.S. dollar.
IRON ORE: $64.08s -0.52 (August contract)
U.S. oil prices edged lower from a multiyear high, with some traders worried that major oil producers could increase production more than previously expected.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery inched down 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $73.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping a four-session winning streak following its best week since 2016. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $1.93, or 2.4%, at $77.30 a barrel.
The Mexican peso pared some of its early declines Monday and was recently down 0.4% against the dollar. It had weakened more than 1.1% against the dollar after leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the country’s presidency Sunday, igniting concerns that the president-elect’s nationalist views could destabilize Mexico’s relationship with the U.S.
The U.S. currency also rose against a broad range of emerging market currencies on concerns that trade tensions will soften global economic growth. The dollar was recently up 0.9% against both the South African rand and the Brazilian real.
The euro fell against the dollar as political tensions in Germany pushed investors toward the safety of the U.S. currency.
The euro was recently down 0.5% at $1.1642. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, was recently up 0.4% at 88.38.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the country’s interior minister in a final attempt to prevent her conservative bloc from rupturing over immigration. Political uncertainty and uneven economic data in the eurozone have pushed the single currency down more than 3% against the dollar this year.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 2.3%, led lower by energy, materials and industrial companies.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 2.2% amid weakness in consumer stocks. Both notched their biggest daily losses since March.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.5% to its lowest close since early 2016, when fears about the Chinese economy led to a global selloff in stocks. Investors have been concerned that Beijing’s tough stance on deleveraging hasn’t changed, pressuring the stock market.