Market Update & Important Indicators:
Declines in energy stocks pressured major U.S. indexes, while financial shares gained. Shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 fell 1.6% as the price of oil slumped. U.S. crude fell after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that oil stockpiles rose for the first time in nine weeks. Gasoline inventories also rose, raising fears U.S. drivers won't use up the glut of crude and fuel over the summer. Financial stocks rose 0.7%. Stocks had slipped in recent sessions as investors waited for a series of scheduled events that have the potential to create big moves in global markets. Along with a policy decision from the European Central Bank Thursday, former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey is expected to testify in Washington. Falling for the day was the U.S. gold price which shed 0.5% to finish at 1,286.80 US$/oz.
European stocks ended a choppy session slightly lower on Wednesday, as investors took a cautious approach ahead of a jam-packed Thursday session that has the potential to shake up financial markets significantly. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed 0.1% lower 389.18, after trading as high as 391.81 earlier in the day. Wednesday's weakness marks a third straight session in the red, taking the pan-European benchmark to a three-week low. The Stoxx 600 and major regional indexes climbed to intraday highs in afternoon trade as a sudden drop in the euro threatened to take the shared currency below $1.12 for the first time since May 31, according to FactSet data. The moves came following a Bloomberg report that the European Central Bank is set to reduce its inflation forecasts.
Asian shares ended Wednesday without any clear direction, as investors awaited several potentially significant events this week. The trading sentiment has turned cautious ahead of the U.K. elections, the ECB meeting and former FBI director James Comey's Congress testimony. The Nikkei Stock Average ended in the positive with modest gains despite a 0.2% gain in the yen against the dollar on safe-haven buys into the currency. Shares in Hong Kong and Taiwan along with Singapore were relatively unmoved. The Kospi, however, ends down 0.4% as the won registers its biggest one-day drop against the dollar in more than 2 weeks. Chinese stocks were an exception though with the Shanghai and Shenzhen Composites gaining 1.2% and 2.2% respectively amidst signs of regulatory loosening.
Australian shares pared early losses Wednesday to end little changed after economic growth came in better than expected. A recovery among major banks and a boost in telecommunications stocks helped to offset broad weakness elsewhere. The S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.3 points lower at 5667.20 after falling by as much as 0.4% in early trading. That followed a 1.5% drop Tuesday. Data from the statistics agency showed Australia's gross domestic product expanded 0.3% in the three months through March from the previous quarter and rose 1.7% on year.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed 0.09% higher on Wednesday at $5,621/t. The other base metals finished mostly lower. Lead prices dropped 0.5% to 2,041/t, nickel prices dropped 0.7% to 8,755/t, tin prices fell 1.9% to 19,412/t whilst zinc prices also shed 0.5% to 2,429/t. Aluminium prices bucked the trend rising 0.2% at 1,903/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
Bionomics Ltd (BNO), Threat Protect Australia Ltd (TPS), Ramelius Resources Ltd (RMS), Zenith Energy Ltd (ZEN), Blackham Resources Ltd (BLK), Top End Minerals Ltd (TND), Northern Star Resources Ltd (NST), Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM), Dacian Gold (DCN), Egan Street Resources Ltd (EGA), Alice Queen Ltd (AQX), Paringa Resources Ltd (PNL), AWE Limited (AWE), Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd (SAR), Red River Resources Ltd (RVR), Vital Metals Ltd (VML), Prairie Mining Ltd (PDZ), Hotcopper Holdings Ltd (HOT), Resolute Mining Ltd (RSG), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Pantoro Ltd (PNR), Beadell Resources Ltd (BDR), Investigator Resources Ltd (IVR)