Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks wobbled between small gains and losses Wednesday after Congress passed the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax system in three decades. Wednesday's pause came as investors debated how much of the bill has already been priced into markets and what impact the changes will have on the economy. U.S. stocks have climbed to record highs recently, in part on expectations that the bill will boost corporate profits, particularly among banks and retailers, which tend to pay a higher effective tax rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% after Tuesday's losses, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed less than 0.1%. Stocks rose slightly after the House passed the $1.5 trillion tax cut for a second time, before paring those gains. President Donald Trump may wait until next year to sign the bill. Some analysts believe the tax shake-up could lift growth and inflation in the U.S., pushing up bond yields and prompting the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy more quickly than anticipated. Some say a faster pace of interest-rate increases could threaten this year's stock-market rally, as accommodative central-bank policy in an improving global economy has supported stocks. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, adding 0.3% to close at 1,265.10 US$/oz.
European stock markets dropped for a second straight day on Wednesday, with some preholiday selling taking place as the U.S. made a huge leap forward in approving highly anticipated tax reform. The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.7% to close at 388.37, building on a 0.4% loss from Tuesday. Germany's DAX 30 index erased 1.1% to 13,069.17, while France's CAC 40 index fell 0.6% to 5,352.77. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index lost 0.3% to 7,525.22.
Asian markets were little moved Wednesday in the quiet preholiday period. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average edged up 0.1% as the dollar rose slightly against the yen. Chinese equities fell after the midday pause there, reversing some of Tuesday's gains. Shanghai stocks fell 0.3% and the Shenzhen Composite fell 0.7%. As China prepares to unveil its economic blueprint for 2018, people familiar with the plan say it will show that Beijing is finding it hard to cut debt without jeopardizing growth.
The Australian market on Wednesday turned around a negative start to the day to edge fractionally higher, as miners, energy producers and several consumer-related stocks rose in value. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed hardly changed, up 3.8 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6,075.6 points. The broader All Ordinaries index lifted 4.7 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,167.9 points.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 1.5% to finish at $7,044/t. The other base metals also finished mostly higher. Aluminium prices added 1.2% to close at 2,105/t, whilst Lead prices pulled back 1.6% to close at 2,519/t. Tin prices rose 0.6% to close at 19,515/t, whilst Nickel prices bounced 2.4% to 11,976/t. Zinc prices added 0.5% to close at 3,208/t.
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