OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open flat. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 2 points.
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Each Market in Focus
Despite tailing off in the final minutes, Australian shares overcame a weak start to the session to settle in positive territory, with miners doing much of the heavy lifting.
The S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.3% to 6672.2, led clearly by the materials sector as South32 rallied 6.6% and BHP and Rio Tinto each gained more than 1%.
Although Commonwealth Bank slipped modestly, the other heavily weighted major banks were up by at least 0.3%. Most energy stocks logged gains, though Oil Search retreated 1% after scaling back its 2019 production guidance, while the tech sector was down for a fifth session running.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose intraday as investors digested the latest flurry of third-quarter earnings reports.
The blue-chip index gained 96 points, or 0.4%, in early-afternoon trading. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%.
Overall market moves have been muted recently even with the corporate earnings season well underway, keeping major indexes in a tight trading range.
With results in from nearly 20% of the companies in the S&P 500, earnings are projected to decline 4.7% for the third quarter from a year ago, according to FactSet, adding to concerns that U.S. economic growth is slowing. That would mark the third consecutive quarter of declining profits.
The S&P 500 is up just 1.2% in October, while the Dow industrials are roughly flat. Both indexes are within 2% of their all-time highs reached in July.
Gold prices ended a bit lower, finding few decisive catalysts as investors kept an eye on developments surrounding Brexit and U.S.-China trade talks.
Gold for December delivery on Comex fell by 60 cents, or 0.04%, to settle at $1,487.50 an ounce, while December silver lost 10.2 cents, or 0.6%, at $17.50 an ounce. In other commodity markets, December wheat prices were down 5 1/2 cents to $5.18.
U.S. crude-oil futures rose 1.6% to $54.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, trimming some of its recent slide on hopes that a trade agreement between the U.S. and China will support fuel consumption.
Brent crude, the global gauge of prices, advanced 1.3% to $59.70 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange.
A Reuters report that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will consider deeper output cuts at their December meeting to balance the market also boosted prices.
The dollar fell against some emerging market currencies intraday, reflecting growing optimism over global trade and a rise in oil prices.
Investors have taken a more upbeat view on the world in recent weeks, as the U.S. and China take initial steps toward a trade agreement and the U.K. appears closer to a Brexit deal with Europe.
The brighter outlook has lifted emerging market currencies. Investors are usually better-disposed toward the boom-and-bust asset class when global growth appears stable, as many developing economies rely heavily on exports and tend to be hard hit in downturns.
Sterling fell 0.3% against the U.S. dollar, last changing hands at $1.2814, according to FactSet data. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to exit from the European Union appeared less certain, with the British leader losing a vote to fast-track his plan to abandon the European Union by Oct. 31. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, was recently unchanged at 90.55.
Shares in European oil majors gained as crude prices rose more than 1% after reports suggested OPEC and its allies would consider bigger oil production cuts in December due to declining winter demand.
Shares in BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni all rose after the price of a barrel of Brent crude advanced 1.9%. Still, OPEC sources reportedly confirmed the organization’s determination to make members such as Iraq and Nigeria enforce existing production quotas before cutting further.
The share-price gains drove increases in European markets, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.1%, the FTSE 100 lifting 0.8%, and both the DAX and CAC-40 up 0.1%.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% after U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that a trade deal between the U.S. and China “is coming along very well,” leading to speculation that the two nations may reach a tariff agreement in the coming months.
His top trade negotiator also said that the U.S. aims to finish the first phase of talks by mid-November when the two countries meet in Chile.
South Korea’s benchmark Kospi closed 1.2% higher at 2088.86, rising for a second straight session. Renewed optimism about a partial U.S.-China trade deal helped boost investor sentiment, sending trade-sensitive stocks such as electronics and chemicals higher.
Hong Kong stocks closed higher, tracking stronger Asian equities. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.2% to 26786.20.
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