Market Update & Important Indicators
Rallying energy shares pushed U.S. stock indexes toward fresh highs Monday. A recovery in commodity prices, pickup in growth across economies around the world and a weaker dollar have helped major indexes climb this year, investors and analysts say. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite posted records together Friday and were on track to repeat the feat Monday. The Dow industrials rose 0.1%. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.4%. Energy shares in the S&P 500 jumped and are on track for their biggest one-day gain since July as oil prices rallied. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, rebounding 0.9% to finish at 1,281.40 US$/oz.
A pan-European stock benchmark closed slightly higher Monday, while Germany's main gauge pulled back from a record, as a drop for banks and telecoms limited gains and as a political shake-up in Saudi Arabia caused some jitters. A slowdown in services activity weighed on shares in Spain, already battered by the ongoing political crisis over independence for Catalonia. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1% to 396.59, putting the index nearer to a 52-week closing high reached last Wednesday. Germany's DAX 30 index dipped by 0.1% to end at 13,468.79. On Friday, it finished at a closing high of 13,478.86. France's CAC 40 shed 0.2% to finish at 5,507.25, and Spain's IBEX 35 dropped 0.4% to 10,316.50. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1% to end at 7,562.28 for a fresh record close.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by as much as 1.6% earlier in the session, before reversing losses to close down just 0.02%. Some market participants credited political unrest in Saudi Arabia with sparking short-lived investor jitters in Hong Kong. Comments from China's central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan about rising risks to China's financial system reignited worries of a crackdown on leverage on the mainland. Mr. Zhou wrote in an article posted Saturday on the website of the People's Bank of China that the risks of China's financial system were increasing. He described the risks as being "hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous." Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average reversed early gains, as traders returned after a three-day weekend. The index closed up 0.04%.
Australian shares edged back from 2 1/2-year highs today as Westpac's earnings miss weighed heavily on the market. After a choppy session in which the S&P/ASX 200 moved in just a 21-point range, it settled 0.1% lower at 5953.8. Westpac led the major banks lower with a 2.2% drop, eating into some of its rebound during the last 2 months. Meanwhile, explosives company Orica sank 9.8% following a fairly subdued outlook in its FY report. But energy stocks continued to push higher along with oil prices, with Woodside up 1.3%.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 1.1% to finish at $6,970/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices lost 0.7% to close at 2,151/t, whilst Zinc prices added 0.4% to 3,264/t. Lead prices rose 1.8% to 2,503/t, while Tin prices fell 0.6% to close at 19,567/t. Nickel prices rebounded again, closing 1.5% higher at 12,870/t.
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