Market Update & Important Indicators
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded from its worst session in weeks, boosted by shares of energy and financial companies. The Dow industrials rose 83 points, or 0.4%, to 21836, following the blue-chip index's largest one-day decline since Aug. 17 on Tuesday. The S&P 500 advanced 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite swung between small gains and losses and was recently up 0.4%. Strong economic data around the globe has underpinned stock markets this year, with U.S. indexes hitting record highs over the summer even as investors have grown anxious about how long the bull run can last. Energy stocks were among the best performers, rising alongside oil prices as Gulf Coast refineries continued to restart following Hurricane Harvey, boosting demand. U.S. crude oil rose 1%. The S&P 500 energy sector climbed 1.7%, with Chevron and Exxon Mobil among the biggest gainers in the Dow industrials. Investors were also tracking Hurricane Irma, which has grown into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean, prompting evacuations in Florida and disrupting air and sea travel. The U.S. gold price pulled back overnight, closing 0.4% lower at 1,333.50 US$/oz.
European markets ended a choppy session slightly higher on Wednesday, with German stocks leading the charge higher as auto makers advanced after key ratings upgrades. Gains in the region, however, were kept in check by concerns over North Korea's nuclear program and insurance companies struggling as Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrelled toward the U.S. After opening in negative territory, the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1% to close at 373.95 to snap a two-session losing streak. On Tuesday, the pan-European index slipped 0.1%, losing grip of gains as fears that North Korea would launch another missile spooked investors. The European Central Bank's rate decision and press conference on Thursday are grabbing investors attention. The key question is whether the policy makers will take the first steps toward tapering its €60-billion-a-month bond-buying program or hold off out of fear of ruining the economic recovery.
Asian stocks extended losses Wednesday as fresh interest-rate concerns, worries about a new hurricane threatening the U.S. coastline and rising tensions over North Korea continued to hit sentiment. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index–among the world's best-performing stock benchmarks this year – was down 0.5% while the Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.1%.
Banks led Australian stocks lower, as was the case in much of Asia Pacific today after the same occurred overnight in the U.S. Financials' weakness more than countered a push higher by resource stocks, with the S&P/ASX 200 falling 16.5 points to 5689.7. The country's 4 biggest banks collectively knocked 12 points from the index, with CBA down a further 1.2% as it continues to unwind its premium to peers; it has now fallen 11% this quarter. Meanwhile, energy stocks rose following overnight oil gains and miners also saw higher prices for their stocks.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded flat overnight, adding 0.01% to finish at $6,901/t. The other base metals finished mostly higher. Nickel prices gained 0.7% to 12,102/t, while aluminium prices rose by 0.4% to close at 2,080/t. Lead prices traded 0.2% higher at 2,312/t, whilst Zinc prices fell a further 1.5% to 3,092/t. Tin prices lifted by 0.1% to finish at 20,920/t.
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