OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open higher. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open up 25 points.
Google has reached a deal to buy wearable fitness products company Fitbit for roughly $2.1 billion, a move that would extend the tech giant’s reach in consumer electronics.
China called on companies and e-commerce platforms to stop selling e-cigarettes online, in a bid to curb underage vaping as global health authorities raise alarms about its potential effect on public health.
Each Market in Focus
Australian shares recovered steadily from morning lows to edge into positive territory, but still logged the first weekly decline in four weeks.
The S&P/ASX 200 settled 5.7 points higher at 6669.1 on broad gains outside the financial sector. The index was down 1% over the week, and now sits 18% higher year-to-date.
Healthcare stocks showed the biggest advance, supported by energy and industrial shares. ANZ led the big banks down with a fall of 2.1% as investors continued to fret over weak full-year earnings released Thursday.
However, Macquarie picked up 0.3% on a strong first-half performance. CSR, up 4.6%, was one of the biggest gainers after reporting improved half-year profit.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended at new records after a strong October jobs report reassured investors about the pace of growth.
The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October, topping expectations for 75,000 payrolls, Labor Department data showed. The figures suggest the job market remains robust, despite recent labor strikes at General Motors and the long-simmering trade war between the U.S. and China. The jobless rate ticked up to 3.6% last month from 3.5% in September.
The S&P rose 1%, its third record close of the week, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.1%, its first high since July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 300 points, or 1.1%. The blue chips are less than 0.3% away from their July highs. All three indexes are up more than 1% for the week.
Gold futures settled modestly lower but notched a weekly gain, as a closely watched report on U.S. employment came in better than expected, perhaps affirming the perception that the Federal Reserve will likely hold off on further interest rate cuts after delivering its third reduction in a row on Wednesday.
However, weakness in manufacturing activity and lower bond yields capped gold’s slide. Gold for December delivery on Comex fell $3.40, or 0.2%, at $1,511.40 an ounce, after gaining 1.2% on Thursday, which then marked the highest most-active contract finish since
Sept. 26 and largest one-day dollar and percentage climb since Oct. 2. For the week, the precious metal notched a 0.4% advance based on the most-active contracts finish from a week ago. In other commodity markets, December wheat prices rose 7 1/4 cents to $5.16.
Oil futures ended higher, extending early gains after an unexpectedly robust U.S. jobs report for October and in the wake of another fall in the number of rigs drilling for crude.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery rose $2.02, or 3.7%, to end at $56.20 a barrel, while January Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained $2.07, or 3.5%, to close at $61.69 a barrel. The rally saw crude trim what had been significant weekly losses, with WTI suffering a 0.8% decline for the week and leaving Brent off just 0.1%.
European stocks advanced after surprisingly strong data in both the U.S. and China. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.68% to 399.43, with the index rising for the fourth week in a row to settle at the highest value since Jan. 29, 2018.
Investors have turned to European stocks of late. According to data compiled by Jefferies, more inflows in the week to Oct. 30 went into European stocks, at $1.7 billion, than U.S. equities, at $1.6 billion. That’s the strongest inflows into European stocks in one-and-a-half years.
The German DAX increased 0.73% to 12961.05, the French CAC 40 rose 0.56% to 5761.89 and the U.K. FTSE 100 added 0.75% to 7302.42.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained as a private gauge of China’s factory activity showed growth for the third straight month in October as exports strengthened.
Meanwhile, Japanese shares were lower, with the Nikkei Stock Average closing down 0.3% at 22850.77, as concerns over the U.S.-China trade negotiations resurfaced and the yen strengthened. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi closed up 0.8% at 2100.20, topping the 2100 level for the first time since Sept. 24.
China launching its own commercial 5G network services helped boost investor sentiment, sending some communications-equipment makers and electronics firms higher, Shinhan Investment said.
Hong Kong stocks ended higher despite the city’s weakening GDP and worries over a recession. The Hang Seng Index closed 0.7% higher at 27100.76. Electronics makers and property developers continued their strong performance from last session, riding on Apple’s better-than-expected earnings and faster launches of real-estate projects in China.
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