Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
U.S. stocks fell as the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. continued to accelerate. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked higher to 0.87% The WSJ Dollar Index settled little changed at 87.06. Oil prices rose after data showed a smaller-than-expected draw from U.S. inventories. Gold prices slipped amid continued optimism around vaccines for Covid-19.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% as financial stocks continued their recent rally.
The benchmark index closed at a near nine-month high, with the financial sector adding 1.7% to help offset weakness among materials and energy.
U.S. stocks dipped as mounting coronavirus cases forced more parts of the country to impose restrictions meant to fight the spread of the virus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.2%, closing near its lows after coming within striking distance of a record earlier in the session. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.8%.
Gold futures declined amid growing economic optimism spurred by the latest update on a coronavirus vaccine.
December gold declined by 0.6% to settle at $1,873.90 an ounce. The drop marked the first back-to-back loss for gold since a two-day slide ended Oct. 29, according to FactSet data.
WTI oil prices reached their highest price in 11 weeks, settling 0.9% higher at $41.82 a barrel on rising hopes for a coronavirus vaccine.
Weekly Energy Information Administration oil data also supported prices as the headline number showed a smaller-than-forecast increase in U.S. crude-oil inventories.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1890 to lows near US$1.1850 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US72.87 cents to highs near US73.30 cents and was near US73.00 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen rose from near 104.08 yen per US dollar to JPY103.65 and was near JPY103.85 at the US close.
European sharemarkets advanced on Wednesday. The panEuropean STOXX 600 index ended 0.4% higher with auto stocks climbing 1.3%. Shares of Eurazeo jumped 5.5% after selling its stake in cosmetics company Iberchem. The German Dax index was up 0.5%. The UK FTSE index lifted 0.3% amid hopes of a Brexit deal and data showing stronger-than-expected inflation. UK-listed shares in Rio Tinto (+1.1%) and BHP (+0.7%) both rose.
Earlier Wednesday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.5%. Exporters led the upturn amid optimism about improving overseas demand, driven by the recent string of positive Covid-19 vaccine news.
The Nikkei Stock Average lost 1.1%, pulling back from a 29-year high as initial enthusiasm over progress toward a Covid-19 vaccine waned and the yen strengthened.