Market Update & Important Indicators
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to session highs on Thursday, with less than a half-hour left of regular trade, after President Donald Trump picked Fed. Gov. Jerome Powell as the next Federal Reserve chairman. If confirmed by the Senate, Powell would replace Janet Yellen, whose term ends in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading in record territory, up more than 90 points, or 0.4%, while the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 index turned slightly higher. Powell, who is viewed as a continuity candidate, similar in tone and temperament to outgoing Chairwoman Yellen, who has taken a measured approach to normalizing crisis-era, interest-rate policy. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, rising 0.1% to finish at 1,275.50 US$/oz.
European stocks ended lower on Thursday, with shares of many exporters under pressure as the euro increased in value. British blue chips, however, climbed as the Bank of England struck a dovish note even as it raised borrowing costs for the first time in a decade. The market continued to have plenty of corporate earnings reports to consider, with Swiss lender Credit Suisse Group saying its profit climbed. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.5%, pulling back after the pan-European benchmark closed at a more-than two-year high on Wednesday after five straight sessions of gains. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 index gave up 0.2% following its all-time closing high on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 charged up 0.9% and France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1%.
Though stock indexes in South Korea and Japan posted 2017 bests early on, it was only the Nikkei which finished higher–and that was thanks to a last-hour rally in Tokyo. As the Nikkei 225 finished up 0.5%, Korea's Kospi fell 0.4%. The divergences spoke to Thursday's action throughout Asia as there was no broad market driver, allowing local developments to move equities in those locales. Chinese stocks lagged amid worries about potential default increases from interest rates firming globally.
Commodities-stock strength couldn't overcome the drag from Australia's big banks, with the S&P/ASX 200 ending down 0.1% after earlier hitting a 2017 high intraday. National Australia Bank led the major lenders lower, falling 2.8% after projecting higher spending the next three years. Meanwhile, Bank of Queensland dropped 6% as it traded ex-dividend. But big iron-ore miners jumped on rebounding prices, with Fortescue gaining 4.1%. And with Brent holding above $60/barrel, energy stocks rose.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded flat overnight, losing 0.01% to finish at $6,929/t. The other base metals finished mostly lower. Aluminium prices fell 0.6% to close at 2,155/t, whilst Zinc prices lost 0.9% to 3,296/t. Lead prices slipped 1.5% to 2,437/t. Nickel prices pulled back after strong gains earlier in the week, softening 1.5% to close at 12,568/t.
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