Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks rose Friday, capping their biggest weekly gain in almost six months, while European shares fell in what continues to be a rocky period for markets ahead of a closely watched U.S. interest-rate decision next week. The Dow gained 102.69 points, or 0.63%, to 16433.09. Almost all sectors of the Dow rose Friday, with the exception of materials stocks. The Dow's weekly gain of more than 2% was the largest since the week ended March 20. The S&P 500 rose 8.76 points, or 0.45% to 1961.05, bringing it to its biggest weekly gain in almost two months. The Nasdaq rose 0.5%. The majority of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal over the past week said they expect the Fed won't raise rates at its Sept. 16-17 policy meeting. Big moves in U.S. stocks in recent weeks, fueled by worries over an economic slowdown in China, have cast doubt over a rate increase. In Europe, Germany's DAX dropped 0.9%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.0% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 0.6%.
Panic selling in China appears to be taking a pause. The Shanghai Composite Index, which hasn't had an up week in about a month, closed up 1.3% for the week, while stocks in Hong Kong, up 3.2% for the week, had their first positive week since mid-July. Chinese authorities have made fresh attempts in recent days to stabilize their markets, down 38% since June, with a mix of fiscal stimulus and high-level assurances. The Nikkei Stock Average rose 2.7% this week, while the Kospi Composite Index gained 3% for the week. On Friday, the Nikkei Stock Average closed down. Shanghai stocks finished up 0.1%, while the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.3%. South Korea's Kospi was down 1.1% Friday, after the Bank of Korea kept interest rates unchanged, as expected, for the third straight month.
Copper closed lower in London on Friday, on the back of profit-taking amid market uncertainty about the timing of a U.S. interest rate rise. Other LME metals closed mixed. Gold was down marginally to US$1,106/oz and Brent gained 0.1% to US$48.21/bbl. The AUD/USD is trading at 0.709.
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