Market Update & Important Indicators:
Gains in real estate and utilities shares pushed U.S. stocks slightly higher Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve signalled interest rates could rise in June. Real-estate and utilities stocks in the S&P 500 rose 0.7%. Shares of basic materials producers in the S&P 500 rose 0.5%. Dow component DuPont gained 1.1%. U.S. stocks have climbed in recent sessions as corporate earnings growth helped outweigh concerns over the ability of the Trump administration to push through its policy agenda, including tax cuts. Many investors are now focusing on central bank policy ahead of pivotal meetings next month for the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Wednesday's minutes from the Fed's meeting earlier this month showed officials expected that it would "soon be appropriate" to raise short-term rates again, a signal the central bank could act in June. The Fed's stimulus policies have helped buoy stocks and bond markets in recent years. But many investors view rate increases as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy that shouldn't derail financial markets, particularly if the Fed continues to move at a gradual pace. The U.S. gold price rebounded overnight, rising 0.6% at 1,258.60 US$/oz.
Most major European markets ebbed lower Wednesday, with automobile makers and mining companies among those struggling, but stayed in the red after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi maintained his dovish tone. Among benchmarks, Germany's DAX was off 0.2% at 12,636.89 and Italy's FTSE declined 0.3% to 21,350.88. But the Stoxx Europe 600 clung to a gain of less than 1 point at 392.21, as most U.K. blue-chips rose, lifting the FTSE 100 up 0.3% to 7,510.66. On a sector basis in Europe, utility, basic material and consumer goods shares were in the red, but health care, technology and telecom stocks were among those advancing.
In Asia, Chinese stocks pared initial losses to end higher after Moody's Investors Service lowered the country's credit rating for the first time since 1989. Most other bourses in the region closed higher. China's credit-rating downgrade didn't have a lasting impact on Asian markets. Equities fell more than 1% in early trading in both Shanghai and Shenzhen as investors were reminded of China's continued growing debt pile, especially among companies. But the declines soon eased, with the Shenzhen Composite Index ending 0.5% higher on the day and the Shanghai Composite Index notching a 0.1% gain. Most other markets in the region ended higher. A recent rebound in the dollar against the yen helped send Japan's Nikkei Stock Average up 0.7%.
Australian shares gained modest ground Wednesday, although ongoing weakness in several of the major banks and a drop by mining stocks held the market back. The broader market shrugged off data showing a big fall in private housing construction in the first quarter and a credit rating downgrade in China, although Moody's move on the world's second-largest economy sparked heavy selling in the iron ore market that weighed on several big-name miners. After easing in and out of the red, a push in the final minutes of trading lifted the S&P/ASX 200 to finish 8.8 points, or 0.2%, higher at 5769.0.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed down 0.56% at $5,682/t. The other base metals finished mostly lower on Wednesday. Lead prices fell 1.0% at 2,049/t, nickel prices fell 2.6% to 9,058/t, tin prices fell 0.7% at 20,526/t, whilst zinc prices fell 0.9% at 2,625/t. Aluminium prices bucked the trend rising 0.1% to 1,943/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
Northern Star Resources Ltd (NST), Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM), Dacian Gold (DCN), Egan Street Resources Ltd (EGA), Alice Queen Ltd (AQX), Paringa Resources Ltd (PNL), AWE Limited (AWE), Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd (SAR), Red River Resources Ltd (RVR), Vital Metals Ltd (VML), Prairie Mining Ltd (PDZ), Hotcopper Holdings Ltd (HOT), Resolute Mining Ltd (RSG), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Pantoro Ltd (PNR), Beadell Resources Ltd (BDR), Investigator Resources Ltd (IVR), Echo Resources (EAR), Emerald Resources NL (EMR), PharmaNet Group (PNO), Strandline Resources Ltd (STA)