OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open higher. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open up 42 points.
PayPal shares soared after the financial-tech company reported a jump in its user base and progress in making money from its Venmo service.
Democratic senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon over concerns the company ignored security warnings about a vulnerability that enabled the hack of Capital One customer data in one of the biggest-ever heists of such banking records.
Each Market in Focus
Despite fading somewhat through the afternoon, Australian shares managed to log a fourth-consecutive gain as resources companies were buoyed by overnight gains in crude and metal prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 settled 0.3% higher at 6693.6, which has it up 0.7% so far this week and on track for a third weekly gain in a row.
The energy sector led, rising 1.5%, while BHP picked up 1% and Rio Tinto added 0.7%. Though the big banks were mixed, Macquarie gained 1.4% to help lift the sector. Consumer discretionary shares also gained, with JB Hi-Fi climbing 6.8% on the back of its first quarter result.
The broad index bobbed around the flatline throughout the session. The tepid move obscured bigger swings in shares of individual companies that reported quarterly earnings late Wednesday and intraday. So far, the gains and losses piled up to leave the S&P 500 a hair above where it was a day earlier.
On one end, shares of Twitter, 3M, Ford and eBay all suffered steep declines after reporting disappointing earnings, weighing on the S&P 500. On the other end, shares of PayPal Holdings, Microsoft and semiconductor company Lam Research notched solid gains after topping Wall Street’s expectations.
The S&P 500 added 0.1% in recent trading, as technology stocks within the broad index jumped more than 1% following the upbeat earnings. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to underperform broader benchmarks, falling 48 points, or 0.2%, to 26785 in recent trading.
Gold prices climbed above the key $1,500 mark to mark their highest finish in about two weeks, as a monthly drop in U.S. durable goods orders buoyed haven appeal for the metal.
Prices had edged lower in early dealings as global stocks traded higher o better-than-expected quarterly earnings results and traders weighed the final policy update from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. U.S. benchmark stock indexes, however, saw mixed trading as gold futures settled Thursday.
December gold on Comex tacked on $9, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,504.70 an ounce, after posting a 0.6% gain Wednesday. Prices for the most-active saw their highest settlement since Oct. 9, according to FactSet data.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 26 cents, or 0.5%, to end at $56.23 a barrel, the highest finish for a most-active contract since Oct. 26, according to FactSet.
Crude built on a gain seen Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported an unexpected fall in crude supplies and expectations that shale production may be set to cool, analysts said.
The British pound weakened as markets awaited the European Union’s decision on whether to grant an extension to the U.K. to leaving the bloc.
The pound fell to $1.2833 from $1.2914 as the Times reported the EU will grant a second extension on Friday. The issue is the length of the extension, with the newspaper saying French President Emmanuel Macron only wants a two-week extension, and not until Jan. 31 as many had thought.
Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could make a third attempt to trigger a general election.
The WSJ Dollar Index recently rose, up 0.19% to a recent 90.777 after the European Central Bank held interest-rates steady at its meeting.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 closed higher, extending its winning streak to four days. London’s blue-chip index ended the session up 0.9% at 7328.25 as investors focused on corporate earnings. Investment manager M&G topped the FTSE 100 risers, up 6.1%, followed by AstraZeneca as investors cheered the drug maker’s upbeat outlook. Private health-care operator NMC Health was the biggest faller, down 4.8%, while shares in Royal Bank of Scotland took a hit after the lender swung to a third-quarter loss due to costs.
The German DAX was up 73.91 points, or 0.58%, to 12872.10, while the French CAC was up 30.89 points, or 0.55%, to 5684.33.
South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.2% higher at 2085.66. A batch of solid corporate earnings reports helped pull the benchmark index higher toward the session’s close. Investors may follow individual stocks in the coming weeks as the earnings season gets into full swing, Kiwoom Securities said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong shares closed higher, led by electronic component suppliers and casino operators. The Hang Seng Index ended the day 0.9% higher at 26797.95. Banks were also broadly higher.
Indian shares reversed earlier gains after election results in one state didn’t favor the ruling party, an unexpected outcome that may signal the BJP isn’t invincible. The BSE Sensex closed 0.1% lower at 39020.39.
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