Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks jumped Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its biggest one-day gain in months. The moves marked a turnaround from last week, when geopolitical tensions and a string of disappointing corporate reports sent the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to their steepest weekly declines since March. The swings punctured what had been a streak of largely listless trading for the stock market. Yet solid corporate earnings, stronger-than-expected economic data from Japan, and some easing of fears of conflict between North Korea and the U.S. helped stocks climb again Monday. The Dow industrials added 145 points, or 0.7%, to 22003. The S&P 500 climbed 1%, on track for its biggest one-day gain since April, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.3%. Financial stocks rose with bond yields. Banks tend to benefit from higher yields since they boost their net-interest margins, a key measure of lending profitability. Another sign of the relative calm in the markets: A measure of expected stock volatility that had spiked last week retreated Monday. The CBOE Volatility Index, which tracks investors' expectations of swings in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, slumped 19%. The U.S. gold price retreated slightly overnight, pulling back 0.6% to finish at 1,281.60 US$/oz.
European stocks on Monday partly recovered from last week's sharp losses after senior U.S. officials over the weekend sought to play down the risk of a nuclear conflict with North Korea. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.8% at 375.09, winning back parts of the 2.7% loss it suffered last week.
Asian equity markets retraced some of last week's pullback, as robust earnings and reduced fears of military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea lifted buying interest. Markets responded positively to the reduced risk of fighting in the Korean Peninsula. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.4% Monday, after registering its biggest one-week decline since December. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.9%. Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.6%, with buying across all sectors. In South Korea, the Kospi rebounded 0.6%, after it fell 3.2% last week, in its largest one-week percentage decline since June 2016.
Steady gains for Australian stocks today allowed them to reverse more than half of Friday's slide, with the S&P/ASX 200 finishing up 0.7% at 5730.4. Major banks and energy companies helped lead today's rebound. The Big 4 lenders rose as much as 1.8% while regional lender Bendigo & Adelaide jumped 7.5% on the back of a well-received FY report. But Newcrest Mining and Ansell slid following weaker-than-expected results.
China moved to tighten economic pressure on North Korea by implementing a new package of U.N. sanctions on Monday. The Commerce Ministry announced a ban on imports of iron ore, iron, lead and coal from North Korea effective Tuesday. China accounts for roughly 90 percent of North Korean trade.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed marginally lower overnight, dropping 0.2% to $6,397/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices fell 0.5% to 2,027/t, whilst lead prices added 0.5% to 2,316/t. Tin prices rose 0.2% to 20,460/t, whilst zinc prices jumped 0.7% to 2,902/t. Nickel prices were again weakest overnight, falling another 2.0% to finish at 10,407/t after 4 straight days of gains made last week.
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