Market Update & Important Indicators
The S&P 500 rose to a fresh record as investors focused on corporate earnings and largely brushed off the threat of a U.S. government shutdown. The index is up 5.1% in 2018, its best 13-day start to a year since 1987. The recent leg higher has been marked by investors' fervour for stocks, propelling what some analysts are referring as a "melt-up," which is commonly defined as a period of sudden stock-market gains. The start of fourth-quarter earnings season is also assisting in lifting major indexes, as investors have embraced better-than-expected results and optimistic corporate guidance. On Friday, financial companies rose after several regional banks reported fourth-quarter results. The gains helped lift the S&P 500 by 12.27 points, or 0.4%, to 2810.30, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 40.33 points, or 0.6%, to 7336.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a gain, rising 53.91 points, or 0.2%, to 26071.72, despite declines from components American Express and International Business Machines. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, gaining 0.3% to finish at 1,330.60 US$/oz.
European shares closed higher, with the STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% at 400.88, having reached its highest in two and a half years at 401.15. German stocks outperformed, with the DAX up 1.2% as recent positive eurozone economic and corporate news continues to encourage the buying of European equities. France's CAC 40 ended up 0.6% and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 up 0.4%. All major European bourses ended higher, with Spain's IBEX 35 up 0.5% and Italy's FTSE MIB up 0.5%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.2% higher, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up by 0.4%. Taiwan's Taiex rose another 0.7% to a fresh 28-year high as it continues marching toward 1990's record high, now 11% away. China's Shenzhen A-Share index was down slightly, falling 0.1%.
Australian stocks capped their 3rd down week in 4 with a 4th-straight drop and continued underperformance versus others in the region. The S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1% to 6005.80, a fresh 5-week low, putting the week's decline at 1.1%–the most since mid-November. Energy stocks continue to weigh, with that sector down 0.7% today and 4.5% for the week, the most since June. Utilities were also weak today while major telecom firm Telstra shed 1.4%.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, shedding 0.5% to finish at $7,041/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices pulled back 1.1% to 2,219/t, while lead prices slipped 0.9% to close at 2,582/t. Zinc prices were 1.2% stronger at 3,440/t, whilst nickel prices jumped 2.1% to 12,679/t. Tin prices rebounded 1.1%, closing at 20,690/t.
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