Market Update & Important Indicators
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its biggest one-week gain of the year, capping off a stretch that included four consecutive record closes. Major indexes have risen in recent sessions, with the S&P 500, Dow industrials and Nasdaq Composite notching fresh closing highs together on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fears around worst-case scenarios for storm damage that had pressured stocks last week have largely subsided, helping drive stocks and government bond yields higher. Stocks also remained buoyant after the latest provocation from North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan for the second time in a month late Thursday. The Dow industrials rose 0.3%, to 22268.34 on Friday, notching its 39th record of the year and its sixth consecutive session of gains. The index rose 2.2% for the week. The S&P 500 added 0.2% to a fresh closing high of 2500.23, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3% to 6448.47. Shares of energy companies rallied, rising with U.S. crude prices after data showed that inventories are shrinking and that global demand is expected to pick up. The S&P 500 energy sector added 0.3% on Friday and posted its biggest one-week gain since September 2016. Financial stocks added 0.5% in the S&P 500 on Friday, notching their fourth advance in five sessions, as bond yields edged higher. The U.S. gold price traded lower overnight, losing 0.7% to close at 1,319.20 US$/oz.
European stocks finished with modest losses Friday, led by a sharp drop in U.K. stocks that followed signs that the Bank of England is getting ready to hike interest rates soon. The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended 0.3% lower at 380.71, after closing at its highest level since Aug. 8 on Thursday. It fell as the U.K.'s blue-chip FTSE 100 index significantly underperformed other national benchmarks, sliding 1.1% and suffering the lowest close since late April. The losses in London came as the pound rallied to its highest dollar level since the U.K.'s Brexit vote in June last year. Sterling strengthened after BOE super-dove Gertjan Vlieghe turned hawkish, saying rates may need to go up in "coming months". His comments echoed the hawkish tone in the BOE meeting minutes released Thursday. The bank's Monetary Policy Committee signaled the time is coming to tighten policy to control inflation.
Asian stocks largely paid short attention to North Korea's latest missile launch. South Korea reversed early weakness with steady afternoon buying, with the Kospi finishing up 0.4%. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei 225 shined brightest in climbing 0.5%, logging gains throughout the day, and the Philippines benchmark notched a second-straight record close in rising 0.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.1%.
Despite further losses Friday, Australian shares edged higher over the week to snap a run of three weekly declines. Investors avoided taking on new risk heading into the weekend, pulling back on the major banks and other sectors after North Korea fired another missile over Japan. The S&P/ASX settled 0.8% lower at 5695.0, clinging to a 0.4% weekly gain.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.14% to finish at $6,507/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Nickel prices lost 1.0% to 11,010/t, while aluminium prices shed 0.6% to close at 2,057/t. Lead prices added 2.4% to close at 2,332/t, whilst Zinc prices bounced by 1.1% to 3,043/t. Tin prices firmed 0.2% to finish at 20,666/t.
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