OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open lower. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 22 points.
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported strong quarterly operating results Thursday and confirmed its profit outlook for the year as North America continued to power earnings, offsetting weakness in Europe and China.
Each Market in Focus
The major banks weighed heavily on Australian shares, contributing to a second straight day of losses for the local market that left it in the red for the month. Despite a recovery through the afternoon, the S&P/ASX 200 settled 0.4% lower at 6663.4.
For the month, the index was down 0.4%, paring gains in 2019 to 18%. ANZ fell 3.3% after reporting a hit to earnings from low rates and additional customer remediation. The other three major banks lost more than 1% each.
The financial subindex has lost ground each day this week as earnings season kicks off, and shed 2.8% in October. Other sectors were mixed, with energy and consumer discretionary stocks adding to overall weakness.
The S&P 500 fell intraday on skepticism about a U.S.-China trade truce and weakening manufacturing data, pulling back from its record close a day earlier.
The broad stock-market index declined 0.7% after setting a new high Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 246 points, or 0.9%, to 26941. The Nasdaq Composite also fell, sliding 0.5%.
Concerns over trade tensions – a constant overhang for the market all year – resurfaced overnight after Bloomberg News reported that Chinese officials doubt they will be able to reach a long-term trade deal with the U.S., sending stock futures lower.
Gold futures settled above the key $1,500 mark to finish at their highest level in five weeks, buoyed by risk-off sentiment on the back of weakness in U.S. benchmark stock indexes and the dollar.
December gold rose $18.10, or 1.2%, to settle at $1,514.80 an ounce. That was the highest most-active contract finish since Sept. 26 and biggest one-day dollar and percentage climb since Oct. 2, according to FactSet data. In other commodity markets, December wheat prices fell 1/2 cent to $5.08 3/4 cents.
Oil futures declined to settle at their lowest in over a week, with U.S. prices down a fourth session in a row but holding on to a modest gain for the month.
Worries about the global economic backdrop were back in focus for oil traders, with prices declining after a round of lackluster factory data out of China, and a news report that said Chinese officials have doubts over prospects for a long-term trade deal with the U.S.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery fell 88 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $54.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell a fourth straight session and marked their lowest finish since Oct. 22, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
For the month, prices rose 0.2%. Global benchmark December Brent crude declined by 38 cents, or 0.6%, to end at $60.23 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe – also the lowest since Oct. 22. The contract, which expired at the day’s settlement, posted a gain of 0.9% for the month. January Brent crude, which became the front month, lost 62 cents, or 1%, at $59.62 a barrel.
The ICE U.S. Dollar was down 0.4%, adding support to dollar-denominated prices for precious metals.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 1.95 points, or 0.49%, to 396.75. Stocks in London closed lower as expectations of future growth appears to be low on optimism, pushed down by weaker Chinese PMI surveys, lower Eurozone gross domestic product, and question marks over the future of the U.S.-China relationship driving markets lower.
The FTSE 110 Index was down 82.40 points, or 1.12%, to 7248.38. Meanwhile, the German DAX was down 43.44 points, or 0.34%, to 12866.79 while the French CAC was down 36.01 points, or 0.62%, to 5729.86.
Japanese shares rose, with the Nikkei Stock Average closing 0.4% higher at 22927.04. Steelmaker stocks were some of the biggest gainers, with Kobe Steel advancing 1.6%, JFE Holdings 1.2% higher and Nippon Steel up 0.5%. Financial shares were mixed and consumer stocks ended lower.
South Korea’s benchmark Kospi edged up 0.2% to end at 2083.48 as a fresh batch of solid third quarter earnings from tech firms helped lift stocks. The Fed’s rate cut and Chairman Powell’s signal that there are no immediate plans to raise rates also boosted investor sentiment, Kiwoom Securities said.
The Hang Seng Index closed 0.9% higher at 26906.72 as sentiment remain lifted by the Fed’s rate cut overnight while the Hong Kong Monetary Authority also cut its benchmark interest rate. Tech suppliers emerged as winners after Apple posted better-than-expected third quarter results. Singapore shares closed higher, as investors in the region respond to the widely expected rate cut by the Fed. The FTSE Straits Times ended the day 0.7% higher at 3229.88, as bank stocks rose.
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