Market Update & Important Indicators:
U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, but major indexes were on track for monthly gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%. The S&P 500 declined 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.3%,deepening their losses for the month, while the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index of large U.S. commercial lenders shed 1.7%. Overall, U.S. stocks climbed in May as upbeat first-quarter corporate earnings and signs of a steadying global economy helped offset sliding commodity prices and political turbulence in Washington. Major U.S. stock indexes have been relatively placid in recent weeks. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, has posted an average close of 10.89 in May, on track to log its second-lowest monthly average in history. Bucking the trend was the U.S. gold price which rose 0.5% overnight to finish at 1,268.60 US$/oz.
European stock markets closed mostly lower Wednesday, as investors digested the latest bout of uncertainty surrounding the U.K. election and assessed a sharper-than-expected fall in Eurozone inflation. The Stoxx Europe 600 index edged down 0.1% to end at 389.99, for a fifth straight session of losses. The benchmark on Tuesday fell 0.2% as bank stocks declined on concerns over a potential early election in Italy. For the month, however, the Stoxx 600 registered a 0.8% gain. Investors were watching the latest developments in the U.K. ahead of the country's general election next week.
Asian stocks gave up modest early gains to trade little changed. Chinese stocks had initially rallied 1% after a four-day holiday weekend as fresh economic data showed decent manufacturing and services activity for May and no significant economic effects from Beijing's efforts to crack down on leverage and shadow banking. A gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity held steady in May as the property market remained buoyant, pointing to stronger-than-expected economic momentum in the second quarter. Stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen were poised for monthly losses, bucking the global trend. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, up the prior seven sessions to reach 23-month highs, edged down 0.2% as it reopened from a holiday, but ended the month around 4.3% higher. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.1% Wednesday.
Australian stocks Wednesday ended modestly higher for a second straight session as investors continued to pick up beaten-down bank shares. That took some of the sting out of what was still the sharpest monthly fall for the market since January 2016. Financial stocks weighed heavily after earnings highlighted continuing margin headwinds and the federal government introduced a surprise tax on the biggest banks' liabilities to raise money to help plug its budget deficit. Recovering from an initial dip into negative territory, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 6.7 points, or 0.1%, Wednesday to finish at 5724.6. For the month, the index dropped 3.4% after gains in the preceding three months. The major banks rose for a second consecutive day as bargain hunters stepped in but still ended May sharply weaker.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed 0.46% higher on Wednesday at $5,682/t. The other base metals finished mixed overnight. Lead prices rose 0.5% to 2,099/t, whilst aluminium prices rose 0.2% to 1,926/t. Falling for the day, nickel prices shed 1.7% to 8,922/t, tin prices lost 0.6% at 20,435/t, whilst zinc prices fell 1.0% to 2,587/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN), Blackham Resources Ltd (BLK), Top End Minerals Ltd (TND), Northern Star Resources Ltd (NST), Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM), Dacian Gold (DCN), Egan Street Resources Ltd (EGA), Alice Queen Ltd (AQX), Paringa Resources Ltd (PNL), AWE Limited (AWE), Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd (SAR), Red River Resources Ltd (RVR), Vital Metals Ltd (VML), Prairie Mining Ltd (PDZ), Hotcopper Holdings Ltd (HOT), Resolute Mining Ltd (RSG), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Pantoro Ltd (PNR), Beadell Resources Ltd (BDR), Investigator Resources Ltd (IVR), Echo Resources (EAR), Emerald Resources NL (EMR), PharmaNet Group (PNO)
Please read Argonaut's Important Disclaimers & disclosures