Market Update & Important Indicators
US stocks have fallen decisively, with petroleum-linked equities hit especially hard amid growing fears about the slowing Chinese economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday tumbled 162.61 points (0.93 per cent) to 17,348.73. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 17.31 points (0.83 per cent) to 2,079.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 40.30 point (0.80 per cent) to 5,019.05. China worries have dominated trade since the Chinese central bank unexpectedly devalued the currency last week. That came on the heels of about six weeks of volatility in the Chinese stock market.
European stock markets have closed lower, dragged down by volatile trading in Shanghai amid concerns over China, the world's second biggest economy. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index finished the day down 1.88 per cent at 6,403.45 points in the British capital. Frankfurt's DAX 30 ended 2.14 per cent lower at 10,682.15 points and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 1.75 per cent at 4,884.10 compared with Tuesday's close. European equity markets meanwhile dropped "as once again weaker markets in Asia are souring sentiment for investors", said Markus Huber, senior analyst at brokers Peregrine & Black.
Asian shares were mixed, with Shanghai rebounding from heavy falls to close higher on expectations of more state support while Tokyo slumped after the release of weak trade data. Tokyo fell 1.61 per cent, or 331.84 points, to 20,222.63, after news Japan's exports are slowing added to concerns about the world's No.3 economy as demand falls in China. Shanghai ended a see-saw session up 1.23 per cent, or 45.95 points, at 3,794.11, while Hong Kong lost 1.31 per cent, or 307.12 points, to end the day at 23,167.85, its lowest since December. Chinese shares erased a more than five per cent plunge in morning trade, in a surge dealers said was driven by what looked like fresh government support for the market.
In Australia the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 77.1 points, or 1.45 per cent, at 5,380.2 points. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 70.4 points, or 1.33 per cent, at 5,379.8 points. The Commonwealth Bank is set to release its business sales indicator for July. In equities news, more companies will release their earnings reports, with AMP, Qantas and Coles owner Wesfarmers being the highlights. Other companies releasing earnings include: APN News & Media, Brambles, Origin Energy, Super Retail – the owner of Supercheap Auto, Rebel and Amart Sports, Tatts Group, Australia's largest Salmon producer Tassal, and online travel company Webjet full year earnings. In Australia, the market on Wednesday closed higher, helped by a Woodside-led rally in energy stocks.
Oil prices in New York have sagged to a six-and-a-half year low following data showing an increase in US petroleum stocks. The drop came after a US Department of Energy report showed oil stocks rose 2.6 million barrels in the week ending August 14. The data also showed a 300,000 barrel rise at the closely-watched Cushing trading hub.
Metals on the LME were mixed overnight with Copper and Tin down, 0.8% to US$4,996/t & 0.9% to US$15,545/t. Zinc and Nickel posted the largest gains up 1.2% to US$1,780/t & 1.4% US$10,545/t. Gold was up 1.5%, trading at US$1,135/oz and Brent declined 3.4% to US$47.16/bbl. The AUD/USD is trading at 0.735.
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