Market Update & Important Indicators
Major U.S. stock indexes were on pace for records intraday, as investors regained some confidence after skirting several dire scenarios. In the past week: Florida was spared from the catastrophic damage many had forecast from Hurricane Irma, U.S. refiners have ramped back up after Hurricane Harvey battered Texas, North Korea hasn't appeared to have conducted further tests of its nuclear program, and Congress passed a bill to keep the government funded before a month-end deadline. Solid earnings growth and economic expansion in the U.S. and abroad also have helped markets bounce back from occasional selling in recent weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63 points, or 0.3%, to 22120. The S&P 500 gained 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.2%. All three were recently trading above their closing highs. Financial companies were among the biggest gainers. Rising bond yields boosted the prospect that banks will make more money on the difference between what they pay to get deposits and charge to lend. The U.S. gold price gained ground overnight, adding 0.3% to close at 1,331.40 US$/oz.
European stocks advanced, with gains for financial shares reflecting rise in benchmark yields in government bonds in line with an improvement for perceived riskier assets such as equities among investors. The Stoxx Europe 600 index picked up 0.5% to close at 381.42, scoring a fifth straight day of wins. That marks the longest winning streak for the pan-European benchmark since April, according to FactSet data. The benchmark on Monday surged 1%, the largest rise in four weeks, as concerns about Hurricane Irma and North Korea's weapons program receded. Investors world-wide had sought refuge from risks in bonds. But as that is reversing, prices are declining and yields are moving higher, which bodes well for interest-rate sensitive banks. Germany's DAX 30 index rose 0.4% to end at 12,524.77 and France's CAC 30 index rose 0.6% to 5,209.01. But the FTSE 100 flipped lower, losing 0.2% at 7,400.69.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.2% and hit its best intraday level in a month as the yen continued to fall, as the weaker yen benefits the country's exporters. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.1%. Thailand's benchmark SET Index gains 0.4%, amid a risk-on move and greater political stability. Singapore's Straits Times Index closed a tad higher, eking out a gain of 0.2%, or 7.18 points, in the closing minutes of trade to end the day at 3235.69.
Australia's major banks, with support from miners, help drive a second-straight day of solid gains for the local stock market. The move tracked advances across much of Asia-Pacific, after Wall Street gained as North Korean worries came off the boil. The S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 5746.4, the strongest finish in three weeks. The Big Four banks continued to recover from recent selling, while Macquarie jumped a further 2.3% after an upbeat trading update. BHP Billiton and other large miners rebounded from Monday's drop on weaker industrial metals prices. QBE Insurance added 2.5% after Pat Regan, head of Australia and New Zealand operations, was named to become chief executive officer.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, shedding 1.19% to finish at $6,668/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Nickel prices added 1.8% to 11,905/t, while aluminium prices gained by 0.6% to close at 2,104/t. Lead prices rose 1.5% to close at 2,279/t, whilst Zinc prices fell by 0.8% to 3,056/t. Tin prices lost 0.4% to finish at 20,804/t.
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