Market Update & Important Indicators
Stocks edged lower intraday, as Republicans tried to keep their tax overhaul on track. Major indexes pared earlier gains on doubts of whether Republicans would be able to reconcile key items in their tax proposal within a tightly set timeframe. Republicans are now weighing whether to delay votes in the House and Senate next week that would have advanced the plan to the White House after Sen. Marco Rubio announced his opposition to the bill until it included bigger child tax credits for low-income families. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53 points, or 0.2%, to 24531 in late-afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 shed 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3%. Shares of financial firms in the S&P 500 declined 0.6%, while the Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization companies fell 1.2%. The U.S. gold price traded slightly lower overnight, falling 0.2% to close at 1,252.70 US$/oz.
European stocks pared deeper losses, as the euro turned lower in the wake of the European Central Bank issuing updated inflation targets as policy makers wrapped up for the year. Stocks largely struggled throughout the session even after data showed eurozone business activity revved up this month. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2% to 390.10, but it had dropped by as much as 0.4% earlier in the session. On Wednesday, the benchmark slipped 0.2%, from its highest close since Nov. 8. Germany's DAX 30 index was off 0.1% at 13,141.27, and France's CAC 40 fell 0.3% to 5,383.44. Spain's IBEX 35 lost 0.4% to 10,215.50. In London, the FTSE 100 gave up 0.1% at 7,496.51.
Declines in Asian financial stocks pressured some Asia-Pacific stock markets as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's latest rate increase. With pressure from the U.S. dollar's drop Wednesday, the Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.4% ahead of the close. Hong Kong's Hang Seng stock benchmark pulled back to close right around Wednesday's closing level in early-afternoon action. Singapore's stock benchmark fell 1%, dropping from fresh 2 1/2-year highs set Wednesday, as the country's big banks saw their shares fall as much as 2%, retracing some of their recent strength. But sizable gains were seen in South Korea, where the Kospi rose 1.3% to extend the past week's rebound.
An afternoon fade resulted in Australian stocks ending a five-day winning streak, which included a string of modest gains. The drop was also slight, at 0.2% to 6011.3, to settle at the day's low. Dividend plays telecoms and utilities were among the biggest drag amid rate hikes in the U.S., China and Hong Kong. That countered strength in energy and materials. Despite facing additional allegations levelled by the financial-intelligence agency, CBA managed to rise 0.2%. And Caltex jumped 3.7% after antitrust regulators opposed the acquisition by BP of Woolworths' gas stations. The retailer slipped 0.6%.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.9% to finish at $6,793/t. The other base metals finished mostly higher. Aluminium prices rebounded 2.2% to close at 2,033/t, whilst Lead prices slipped 1.6% to close at 2,492/t. Zinc prices rose 1.1% to close at 3,187/t, whilst Nickel prices gained 0.5% to 11,100/t. Tin prices added 0.6% to close at 18,962/t.
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Greenland Energy Ltd (GGG), Walkabout Resources Ltd (WKT), Marindi Metals Ltd (MZN), Volt Power Group Ltd (VPR), PharmAust Ltd (PAA), Alice Queen Ltd (AQX), Jervois Mining Ltd (JRV), St George Mining Ltd (SGQ), Overland Resources Ltd (OVR), Metro Mining Ltd (MMI), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM), Orthocell Ltd (OCC), Whitebark Energy Ltd (WBE), Atrum Coal Ltd (ATU), Minotaur Exploration Ltd (MEP), Panoramic Resources Ltd (PAN), Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Ltd (SEH), Great Boulder Resources Ltd (GBR), Metallum Ltd (MNE), Gold Road Resources Ltd (GOR), Apollo Consolidated Ltd (AOP), De Grey Mining Ltd (DEG), Triton Minerals Ltd (TON), Evolution Mining Ltd (EVN), Silver Mines Ltd (SVL), NTM Gold Ltd (NTM)