Market Update & Important Indicators
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped Monday, putting the blue-chip index on track for its first gain in five trading sessions, as investors' fears that Trump administration's plan to impose stiff import tariffs could spark an all-out trade war eased. Several investors said the threat of a trade war over planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports diminished slightly, as administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, downplayed concerns on Sunday's television talk shows. House Speaker Paul Ryan also broke with Mr. Trump over his decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminium products, warning the White House on Monday to drop the plan. That, along with new economic data that continued to show a steadily expanding U.S. economy, helped reinvigorate investors who had been rattled by the tariffs and whether the Federal Reserve will have to hasten its pace of short-term interest-rate hikes to keep inflation at bay. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4% in recent trading after falling roughly 151 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 was up 1.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite also gained 1.1%. The U.S. gold price traded lower overnight, closing down 0.2% at 1319.80 US$/oz.
European investors shrugged off the inconclusive outcome of Italian elections to lift the Stoxx Europe 600 by more than 1%, but Italian banks fell amid populist support. The pan-European index gained 3.83 points to 370.87. The UK’s FTSE Index closed 0.7% higher at 7,116.
In Asia, most markets fell on concerns about the potential impact of tariffs on global trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.3%, while the Nikkei Stock Average shed 0.7%, with metals-related stocks extending declines on concerns about a U.S.-led global trade war. Earlier Monday, China's government said its 2018 economic-growth target would remain around 6.5% as it predicted a reduced budget deficit. It also said it would cut excess capacity in the steel sector by 30 million metric tons and by 150 million in coal.
Australian stocks extended losses into a 4th straight session, the longest losing streak in 6 weeks, as equities across the region continued to pull back. Led by losses among the major banks and miners, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6% to 5895–off the day's low after a late tick higher. Telecom and healthcare stocks were among the few to buck the trend. Rare-earths miner Lynas rallied 4.8% on a return to profit in F1H while Magellan Financial gained 0.4% on new fund inflows picked up in February.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, rebounding 0.2% to close at $6,910/t. The other base metals mixed. Tin prices finished up 0.3% to 21,638/t, whilst Zinc prices fell a further 1.8% to close at 3,299/t. Aluminium prices slid 0.4% more to close at 2,131/t. Lead prices pulled back 1.0% to 2,419/t, whilst Nickel prices traded 0.2% weaker to finish at 13,379/t.
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