Market Update & Important Indicators:
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping professed progress in their relationship but showed no signs of consensus on trade or North Korea as they wrapped up a 21-hour summit upended by a U.S. air strike on Syria. Investors bought up shares of defence companies Friday following the strike on a Syrian air base. Major indexes swung between slight gains and losses through much of the session after the monthly jobs report showed weak employment growth in March. Defence stocks were some of the biggest gainers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 6.9 points, or less than 0.1%, to 20,656 The S&P 500 fell 0.1% and Nasdaq Composite was flat. Rising for the day also was the U.S. gold price which added 0.2% at 1,253.80 US$/oz. The U.S. strike on Syria also sent oil prices higher. The strikes marked the first time a U.S. military operation deliberately targeted the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and came a day after President Donald Trump said the chemical attack in Idlib province this week had changed his thinking on Mr. Assad. U.S.-traded crude oil gained 1% to $52.24 a barrel. Also Friday, investors reacted to a weaker-than-expected jobs report. The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 98,000 in March from the prior month. That was far below the 175,000 new jobs economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected to be added in the month.
European stocks ended a bumpy session mostly higher as investors weighed a mixed U.S. jobs report and an airstrike against Syria. Investors largely brushed off a suspected terrorist attack in Sweden. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed 0.1% higher at 381.26, after wobbling between gains and losses throughout the day. For the week, the pan-European benchmark ended marginally higher.
Trading in Asia was mixed after news of the strike came midmorning for many markets in the region. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rebounded to end roughly flat. In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average recovered from slight losses following news of the attack, and closed 0.4% higher following Thursday's marked decline. "There's a lot of 'what ifs'," said David Vickers, a senior portfolio manager at Russell Investments, who thought investors wouldn't be overly concerned about the broader impact of the strike if it is a one-off measure.
Australian shares eked out a modest gain Friday as energy companies jumped with a rise in oil prices after U.S. airstrikes in Syria. Stocks seesawed through the week to end little changed amid investor uncertainty over U.S. policy and falls in the prices of commodities including iron ore, one of Australia's most valuable exports. Bank stocks also were in focus as regulators took aim at rising property prices and household debt. A late recovery helped the S&P/ASX 200 finish the day up 6.2 points, or 0.1%, at 5862.5. The gain was driven by energy stocks, with the subindex climbing to its highest since August 2015. For the week, the index slipped by less than 0.1% after a strong rise the week before, buoyed by the major banks.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed down 0.41% at $5,834/t. The other base metals finished mixed on Friday. Lead prices fell 1.8% at 2,245/t, tin prices fell 0.5% at 20,269/t, whilst zinc prices fell 1.4% at 2,663/t. Aluminium prices rose 0.4% for the day at 1,947/t whilst nickel prices jumped 1.0% at 10,123/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)