Market Update & Important Indicators:
U.S. stocks slipped Wednesday, giving back the day's gains late in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up nearly 200 points early on, but retreated after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its March policy meeting that showed officials agreed that they would likely begin reducing the central bank's balance sheet later this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 points, or 0.1%, to 20674 Wednesday. The S&P 500 lost 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.5%. U.S. gold prices hovered around the flat line eventually dropping 0.02% at 1,255.40 US$/oz. According to the minutes, some Fed officials said stock prices looked high relative to some valuation measures, citing the possibility of a correction in financial markets as a risk to their economic forecasts. Companies in the S&P 500 have traded at more than 20 times their past 12 months of earnings for 106 consecutive sessions, the longest stretch since 2010, according to FactSet. The move toward reducing the Fed's portfolio, which includes assets purchased during and after the 2007-09 recession, came after data signalled strength in the labor force, reinforcing post-election bets on an expanding U.S. economy. Stocks rose broadly early in the session following gains in oil prices and data that showed the U.S. private sector added a better-than-expected 263,000 jobs in March, according to payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. and Moody's Analytics. The Labor Department's job report for March is expected Friday.
European oil stocks showed strength Wednesday, but the moves, along with a reading of Eurozone services activity at a near six-year high, didn't translate to gains for regional indexes. The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended up less than 1 point at 380.09. Oil and gas and basic materials shares were higher, but health care, telecom and consumer-related stocks were in the red. The pan-European benchmark on Tuesday rose 0.2% after a choppy session.
Mainland Chinese stocks more than recouped their declines of late last week as markets reopened from a four-day weekend. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 1.5% following news of a speedup in plans to develop a new economic zone some 100 kilometres southwest of Beijing. More than 40 China-listed stocks with a connection to the so-called Xiongan new special economic zone surged by the 10% daily limit. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.3%, led by industrial stocks.
A rise in mining and energy stocks helped drive the Australian market higher Wednesday on gains in commodity prices. Recovering from a fall a day earlier, the S&P/ASX 200 ended the session 19.6 points, or 0.3%, higher at 5876.2–again nearing the 23-month high reached last week. The materials sector took the lead as major miners rebounded from losses in the last few sessions. Copper prices rose on news of a strike at mining operations in Peru. Oil prices also continued to rise, after touching a four-week high Tuesday, as expectations high that production cuts by major exporters and an upcoming season of strong demand will eat into the oversupplied market.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed up 2% at $5,895/t. All other base metals finished higher on Wednesday. Aluminium prices rose 1.2% at 1,948/t, lead prices rose 0.1% at 2,301/t, nickel prices rose 3.2% at 10,230/t, zinc prices rose 1.5% at 2,750/t, whilst tin prices rose 0.5% at 20,140/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Thundelarra Ltd (THX), DTI Group Ltd (DTI) OpenDNA Limited (OPN), Metro Mining Ltd (MMI), Tox Free Solutions Ltd (TOX), St George Mining Ltd (SGQ), Venturex Resources Ltd (VXR), Creso Pharma Limited (CPH), Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Ltd (SEH), Orecorp Limited (ORR) Doray Minerals Limited (DRM), Capricorn Metals Ltd (CMM) Independence Group (IGO), Cardinal Resources Limited (CDV), Metal Bank Ltd (MBK), MOD Resources Ltd (MOD) Quintis Ltd (QIN), Regis Resources Ltd (RRL), Apollo Minerals Ltd (AON), Ironbark Zinc Ltd (IBG), Sovereign Metals Ltd (SVM), Pilbara Minerals Ltd (PLS), Laconia Resources Ltd (LCR)