Market Update & Important Indicators:
The S&P 500 edged lower intraday as losses in consumer stocks offset gains in the shares of financial companies. Stocks traded in a relatively narrow range as former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress and investors awaited the results of a hotly contested U.K. election. Major indexes have drifted higher in recent weeks with few large swings, something investors and analysts have attributed to strength in corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 9 points up to 21155. The S&P 500 finished largely unchanged at 2,434. Financial stocks rose, adding 1.1% in the S&P 500. Dow components J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group gained about 1% each, giving the blue-chip index a boost. The U.S. gold price dropped for the second straight day, falling 0.7% to 1,277.60 US$/oz.
European stocks tilted lower at the end of trade, as investors assessed the European Central Bank's policy stance while they waited for results from the U.K.'s general election. After a choppy session, the Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down less than 1 point at 389.15, but that was enough to mark a fourth straight loss and the lowest close since May 1, according to FactSet data. Most major regional indexes darted in and out of positive territory during the day. Overall, utility, financial and basic material shares fared the best, while consumer-related, telecom and health care stocks fell. The U.K. is holding a snap general election, which was called by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to gain more seats for her Conservative Party and strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations. Meanwhile, European stocks vacillated between gains and losses after the European Central Bank, led by President Mario Draghi, left interest rates unchanged, as expected.
Equities in Asia ended higher, whilst Japan lost initial gains by day's end as investors largely held their breath ahead of Super Thursday. Yet again, South Korean markets shrugged off North Korea's latest missile launch. Meanwhile, the yen briefly rallied amid the prospects of the Bank of Japan eventually easing up a bit on easy money. But that move occurred ahead of the close of stock trading, resulting in the Nikkei falling 0.4% at 19909.26. Meanwhile, a selloff continues in longer-dated Japanese debt, with the benchmark 10-year JGB's yield rising 3 basis points to 0.07%. Indonesian shares ended lower as foreign investors continued to trim their holdings in local stocks.
Australia's share market snapped a three-day losing streak as banking stocks found support ahead of potential market-moving events. The S&P/ASX 200 finished the session up 9.4 points, or 0.2%, at 5676.6, reversing from an initial sharp fall. Still, the index remains on track for its sharpest weekly drop since late October. The major banks notched strong gains, recovering from a steady sell-off since early May on concerns over Australia's housing market, potentially stiffer capital requirements and a fresh tax on lenders' liabilities. Markets across the region traded cautiously as investors braced for the U.K. election and the European Central Bank's latest policy meeting.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed 1.93% higher on Thursday at $5,730/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Lead prices rose 1.5% to 2,072/t, whilst zinc prices finished 0.9% higher at 2,450/t. Falling for the day, aluminium prices shed 0.2% at 1,899/t whilst tin prices dropped 0.6% to 19,289/t. Nickel prices finished flat for the day at 8,759/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)