Market Update & Important Indicators
The S&P 500 was on track for a fresh record intraday following the latest raft of corporate earnings. Investors say a rosy economic and policy backdrop has stocks poised to continue marching higher, though some are concerned about the pace of the rally and elevated earnings expectations. Another record close for the S&P 500 would be its 12th this month – the most ever in January, according to WSJ Market Data Group. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently down 8 points, or less than 0.1%, at 26207. Both indexes swung between small gains and losses. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5%. The U.S. gold price traded higher again overnight, gaining another 1.3% to finish at 1,340.90 US$/oz.
European stock markets rose again, propelling the region's benchmark index to a more-than two-year closing high as traders welcomed the end of the U.S. government shutdown and a round of solid corporate earnings. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.2% to end at 402.81, scoring its highest close since August 2015. Germany's DAX 30 index gained 0.7% to 13,559.60, surpassing its previous record close of 13,478.86 set in November. France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.1% to 5,535.26, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 picked up 0.2% to 7,731.83.
Asian stocks powered higher, building on continued records in the U.S. as the earnings season there began strongly and as investors shrugged off risks at home. Indexes in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea rose more than 1%; indexes in China and India rose more than 0.5%. The gains came despite the U.S.'s imposing steep tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels, aimed mainly at Asian producers – including South Korean washing-machine makers Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Korea's Kospi finished with a 1.4% gain, its best since October, at a two-month high — just 0.8% below November's record. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.3% to close above 24000 for the first time since November 1991, continuing to climb even after the Bank of Japan's midday policy statement gave a fresh lift to the yen.
Australia's stock benchmark logged its biggest gain in nearly three weeks to end a five-day losing streak amid noted advances in multiple regional markets. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8% to 6037 with the major banks rebounding; Westpac and ANZ climbed more than 1%. Energy stocks were also up, while ResMed jumped 8.4% following its fiscal second-quarter report.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, slipping 2.0% to finish at $6,923/t. The other base metals also finished mostly lower. Aluminium prices fell 0.9% to 2,225/t, while lead prices slid 0.5% to close at 2,605/t. Zinc prices were 0.2% lower at 3,433/t, whilst Tin prices pulled back 0.1% to 20,825/t. Nickel prices bucked the trend, adding 0.7% to close at 12,810/t.
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