OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open higher. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open up 28 points.
The House Intelligence Committee will begin public hearings in its Trump impeachment probe next week, with two State Department officials along with the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine scheduled to appear.
U.S. inventories of crude oil rose 7.9 million barrels, much more than expected last week, as refinery activity surprisingly slowed down, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Each Market in Focus
Australian shares fell steadily through the day, snapping a three-session push higher. Settling near the day’s low, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.6% to 6660.2. Most industry sectors were weaker, led by technology and industrial stocks. Still, gains by miners BHP and South32 and modest recoveries by Commonwealth Bank and Westpac helped soften the day’s drop. Thursday will be a busy day for the market, with full-year results due from
National Australia Bank and quarterly numbers from Xero and James Hardie, while BHP, Downer, Flight Centre and Spark each hold annual shareholders’ meetings.
U.S. stocks slipped intraday, led by a slump in energy shares, after major indexes notched a string of records in recent sessions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell less than 0.1%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.3%.
All three indexes have set new highs this week, driven by optimism about the potential for a partial trade deal between the U.S. and China, easing monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and a better-than-feared corporate-earnings season.
Shares of HP jumped 8.6% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Xerox Holdings is considering making a cash-and-stock offer for the personal-computer maker. Xerox shares rose 3.6%.
Gold futures settled higher, a day after the precious metal lost its grip on the psychologically significant $1,500 mark amid gains in stocks, yields and a firmer U.S. dollar – all headwinds for the commodity.
Tuesday’s dip marked the first time in four sessions that the metal finished below $1,500, a level seen by technical analysts as a dividing line between bearish and bullish sentiment
December silver, meanwhile, tacked on 3 cents, or 0.2%, at $17.598 an ounce, following a 2.8% slide that dragged gold’s sister metal to a two-week low.
Oil futures finished lower after U.S. government data revealed that domestic crude supplies rose for a second week in a row, by nearly 8 million barrels.
Against that backdrop, West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery fell by 88 cents, or 1.5%, to settle at $56.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. January Brent crude dropped $1.22, or 1.9%, to $61.74 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, following a 1.3% rise a day earlier for the global benchmark.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, drops slightly to 90.79 from 90.80 yesterday after a two-day rally.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.1% on strength in the banking sector. Banks were among the biggest gainers in Europe. UniCredit shares increased 2.3% as the Italian lender moved a bad-loan portfolio off its books in a transaction that it said would amount to a “significant risk transfer.”
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s FTSE 250 index, which includes companies that are more exposed to the domestic economy than their larger peers, dropped 0.4% as political parties prepared for the Dec. 12 election with the outlook for Brexit as murky as ever.
Hong Kong stocks closed largely unchanged in a session with little major market-moving news. The Hang Seng Index added 5.24 points to close at 27688.64, as property developers continued to rise as more companies posted higher contracted sales for October, boosting the sector’s outlook.
New World Development and Wharf Real Estate Investment each gained 1.2%. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing climbed 0.4% despite a 3Q net-profit fall, possibly because investors expect Alibaba’s planned secondary listing will boost the exchange’s declining trading volume.
India’s benchmark BSE Sensex closed 0.6% higher at 40469.78, a new record, helped by gains in bank stocks. ICICI Bank climbed 2.6% and HDFC Bank rose 1.8%, while IndusInd Bank added 1.7%.
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