Market Update & Important Indicators
Gains in financial shares put the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to extend its record streak. Stocks traded in a narrow range Monday, continuing a recent pattern of mostly quiet trading. With the third-quarter earnings season yet to begin in earnest, and several potential risks – including a potential Republican tax proposal and a Federal Reserve meeting – on the horizon, there are few reasons to make big moves. Still, stocks should continue grinding higher as long as data suggests growth in the U.S. economy remains solid, analysts said. The Dow industrials rose 72 points, or 0.3%, to 22341, heading toward its seventh consecutive session of gains and its 40th closing high of the year. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1%, on track for a fresh record, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1%. Shares of financial companies rose with bond yields on Monday, lifting major indexes. Higher rates tend to benefit banks by boosting their net-interest margins, a key measure of lending profitability. The U.S. gold price traded lower overnight, losing 0.9% to close at 1,307.10 US$/oz.
European stocks pushed higher Monday, with the week getting under way with tensions surrounding North Korea cooling, but Ryanair Holdings underperformed the broader market as the company cancelled hundreds of flights. The Stoxx Europe 600 index picked up 0.3% to close at 381.95. On Friday, the pan-European benchmark slipped 0.3%, but finished last week up by 1.4%. Monday's gains followed advances in Asian equity markets, where South Korea's Kospi Index jumped 1.4%. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is seeking "a peaceful solution" to the conflict with North Korea as a military option is the only one left if diplomatic efforts fail.
Global stock markets were mostly higher Monday following record closes on Wall Street last week with investors expected to shift attention from North Korea to the Federal Reserve's plans on interest rates this week. In Asia, stock markets ended mostly up, with South Korea's benchmark index leading gains, for now brushing aside concerns of more tension in the Korean Peninsula. South Korea's Kospi was up 1.4%, adding to Friday's 0.4% rise, propelled by a 4.1% jump in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed up 1.3%. Markets in Japan were closed Monday for a public holiday. China's benchmark indexes also finished up, with the Shanghai Composite Index's 0.3% advance lifted by gains in alcohol and brokerage shares.
Financial companies helped Australian stocks snap a 3-session losing streak as the country's big banks built on last week's recovery. After rallying once trading started, helped along by regional gains, Aussie equities traded in a fairly narrow range. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4% to 5720.6, with the 4 major banks making up nearly 11 points of the index's 25.6-point gain. Energy companies also rose as oil prices in Asia reversed modest early losses, but Telstra weighed on the telecom sector.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.3% to finish at $6,527/t. The other base metals also finished with gains. Nickel prices added 1.4% to 11,164/t, while aluminium prices jumped 0.2% to close at 2,060/t. Lead prices rose 1.4% to close at 2,364/t, whilst Zinc prices bounced by 2.8% to 3,128/t. Tin prices firmed 0.8% to finish at 20,840/t.
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