OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open up. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open up 33 points.
European Council President Donald Tusk is asking EU leaders to give the U.K. until Jan. 31 to ratify the Brexit agreement, with the bloc eager to end the Brexit saga but determined not to be the cause of a no-deal exit.
Boeing still hopes to secure regulatory approval this year for the return of its 737 MAX jetliner, but the company faces a cash squeeze as airlines stop payments and China holds off buying more planes because of a continuing trade spat with the U.S.
Each Market in Focus
A last-minute rise pulled Australian shares only just into positive territory and relative outperformance against most markets across Asia-Pacific. The S&P/ASX 200 ended up 0.9 point at 6673.1, after being down as much as 0.5%.
Property stocks put on the day’s biggest gains, though energy, industrial and utilities sectors also logged advances that balanced weakness in telecom and consumer shares.
Among the big movers, Meridian Energy dropped 8.4% on news Rio Tinto is considering closing a New Zealand smelter, while Dexus climbed 3.4% with a property portfolio update, and Wisetech rebounded 8.5% out of a trading halt with its response to a bearish research report.
The S&P 500 inched higher intraday after wobbling earlier on a streak of mixed earnings reports. The broad index rose 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14 points, or 0.1%, to 26802.
So far in the reporting season, companies in the S&P 500 have mostly managed to beat analysts’ estimates. But investors note that expectations were relatively low heading into the fourth quarter, due to factors including a slowing global economy and a still unresolved U.S.-China trade fight.
UBS expects that, even if the two countries manage this year to strike a firmer deal to roll tariffs back, there will still be “a meaningful slowdown going into the first half of next year,” said Seth Carpenter, chief U.S. economist at UBS.
Among industrials, Boeing shares jumped 0.7% after the aerospace giant said profits more than halved in the latest quarter but indicated it still expects its 737 MAX to return to service by the end of the year. Investors will get a read on quarterly results from companies including Microsoft, Ford Motor and Tesla.
Gold futures climbed to mark their first gain in four sessions, with prices settling at their highest in nearly a week.
Oil prices climbed fter stockpiles of U.S. crude posted their first decline in six weeks.
U.S. crude futures rose 1.5% to $55.31 a barrel, while Brent, the global gauge of prices, rose 1.3% to $60.45 a barrel.
The gains came after government data showed stockpiles in the U.S. fell by 1.7 million barrels during the week ended Oct. 18, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, driven by a pickup in refinery activity, a surge in exports and a decline in imports. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a 2.9 million-barrel increase in crude inventory.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, held steady at 90.65 intraday, virtually unchanged from the day before.
The Stoxx Europe 600 ticked up 0.1% after British lawmakers endorsed the terms of a Brexit agreement but rejected the government’s proposed timetable. The pound, which had fallen sharply after Tuesday’s votes, edged up 0.1% against the U.S. dollar.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.8% amid reports that China is preparing to replace the city’s leader, Carrie Lam.
Tech stocks were broadly lower, as AAC Technologies lost 3.6% and Tencent Holdings shed 2.3%. Consumer stocks also declined. WH Group, a major global pork company, was down 4.0% and Want Want China was 2.8% lower. China Overseas Land & Investment fell 2.1% after the developer announced its nine-month results. Strong sales growth pushed shares of skincare company L’Occitane 12% higher.
Japan’s Renesas Electronics fell 5.3% and South Korea’s SK Hynix slumped 1.8%. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%.
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