OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open higher. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open up 28 points.
A raft of supportive central government policies lifted China’s economic activity-bolstering factory production and consumer spending-which prompted some economists to raise their growth estimates for next year.
Intel is expanding its push into the artificial-intelligence market with an approximately $2 billion deal for Habana Labs, an Israel-based AI chip-making startup.
Each Market in Focus
Australia’s equity market notched the strongest one-day jump in about six months. Broad strength supported a 1.6% advance by the S&P/ASX 200 to 6849.7, taking the index back to 44 points shy of the all-time high notched at the end of November.
Each of the heavily weighted big banks gained at least 1.4%, and major miners BHP and Rio Tinto rose 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively. But it was the utilities sector that managed the biggest push today, climbing 3.4% thanks to a rally by APA Group.
Still, Smartgroup dropped 15% after warning of a hit to earnings due to term changes by its insurance underwriting partners.
U.S. stocks pushed towards record highs intraday as data signaled an improvement in the Chinese economy, adding to optimism that some of the biggest risks to markets are clearing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 135 points, or 0.5%, to 28271, while the S&P 500 added 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1%. All three indexes hit intraday records.
Gold prices settled modestly lower, weighed down by strength in U.S. bond yields but with losses capped by weakness in the dollar, as investors assessed a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China.
Gold for February delivery on Comex fell by 70 cents, or 0.05%, to settle at $1,480.50 an ounce after trading between a low of $1,477.40 and a high of $1,484.50. March silver added 10. cents, or 0.6%, at $17.113 an ounce.
Oil futures climbed to settle at a three-month high for a second consecutive session, lifted by a so-called phase-one U.S.-China trade deal that has de-escalated tensions between the world’s two-largest economies.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose by 14 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $60.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February Brent crude gained 12 cents, or 0.2%, to end at $65.34 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Both grades of crude ended Monday at their highest levels since Sept. 16, for a second session in a row.
The dollar was a touch weaker intraday, as investors grow more confident in overseas economies thanks in part to the preliminary U.S.-China trade agreement and reduced uncertainty about Brexit following last week’s U.K. election.
Despite mixed economic data out of the eurozone, the euro was recently up roughly 0.3% against the dollar at $1.1150. The WSJ Dollar Index was recently down 0.1% at 90.14.
European stocks advanced to a level that would put them at a new record high, gaining ground in a broad-based rally.
The Stoxx Europe 600 jumped 1.29% to 417.34, surpassing the previous closing high of 414.06 reached on April 15, 2015.
The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.6%. Fresh data showed that Chinese economic activity, including factory production and
consumer spending, improved in November. The better-than-expected results for industrial production and retail sales may help alleviate investors’ concerns about growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Japanese stocks ended lower in the session after the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average hit a 14-month high. Electronics and auto stocks led the declines, with Panasonic down 2.0% and Aisin Seiki dropping 1.6%. The Nikkei lost 0.3% to 23952.35 as caution toward
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