Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks stalled Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, as declines among technology and financial firms weighed on major indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.2%, while the S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% after briefly breaching the 2600 milestone for a second consecutive session during intraday trading. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1%, putting it on track for another record close. While trading volumes have slowed ahead of the holiday on Thursday, stocks remain near their peaks and many expect indexes to continue their grind higher through the rest of this year and in 2018. Investors got more clarity about the path for interest rates in 2018 after Federal Reserve officials released minutes for its Oct. 31-Nov. 1 meeting that showed they likely would raise short-term rates "in the near term" due to a strengthening economy. Although several officials added that their support for the move would hinge on whether inflation picks up. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, jumping 0.9% to close at 1,291.70 US$/oz.
European stocks lost ground Wednesday, with The Stoxx Europe 600 falling 0.3% to end at 387.06, erasing part of Tuesday's rise of 0.4% that put it at its highest since Nov. 10. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 index lost 1.2% to close at 13,015.04, and in Paris, the CAC 40 shed 0.3% to end at 5,352.76. On the upside, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.1% to finish at 7,419.02, though British home building stocks were knocked lower after the U.K. finance minister presented the Autumn Budget. Energy stocks were bolstered by a rise in crude prices, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Oil & Gas up 0.4%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.6% Wednesday to close above 30000 for the first time in a decade. Asian stock markets were buoyed by the technology sector, though advances widely cooled in late trading. Stock indexes in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea roughly halved earlier gains, with the Nikkei finishing up 0.5% despite a rise in the yen against the dollar. Taiwanese stocks eased as the island's dollar hit a nearly three-month high against the dollar. Wednesday's trading volume was US$6 billion, the highest since August 2011.
Resource stocks led the 2nd straight day of gains for Australia’s Benchmark S&P/ASX 200, although recovering the 6000 mark remains a struggle. The index rose 0.4% to 5986.4 after earlier topping out at 5998.1. Woodside, Oil Search and Santos each rose more than 1% on oil's rally within the past day while miners also climbed; BHP Billiton added 1.4% and Oz Minerals jumped 3.6% after lifting estimated reserves at its Prominent Hill mine. The major banks were generally lower sans CBA, which advanced 0.6%.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.6% to finish at $6,954/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices rose 1.1% to 2,089/t, whilst zinc prices moved 1.2% higher at 3,260/t. Lead prices pulled back 0.6% to close at 2,452/t, whilst nickel prices eased 0.2% at 11,781/t. Tin prices closed 0.6% higher at 19,470/t.
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