OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open lower. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 16 points.
General Electric will likely take a significant hit to its cash flow from Boeing’s decision to halt production of the 737 MAX jetliner, which has already dented the conglomerate’s finances.
The British pound fell against the U.S. dollar on mounting concern that the U.K. may break its ties with the European Union at the end of next year without a fresh trading agreement in place, clouding the nation’s economic prospects.
Each Market in Focus
Australian shares limped to a fairly flat finish, held back by the financial sector. Bouncing off lows, the S&P/ASX 200 settled 0.1% lower at 6847.3. That follows a 1.6% jump Monday that took the index back within touch of the all-time high logged in late November.
While resources and consumer stocks managed modest gains, Westpac weighed heavily with a drop of 0.9% after the prudential regulator launched an investigation of the bank and imposed a greater capital burden for heightened operating risk.
Most gold miners also slipped as gold prices paused, and Lynas fell 6.2% after failing to secure Malaysian approval to increase lanthanide concentrate processing. Many utilities, telecom and technology stocks also faltered.
The S&P 500 edged higher intraday, on pace to close a fifth consecutive session higher, as investors continued to support a year-end stock market rally.
Investors bought shares of banks, retailers and communication companies, including Netflix , pushing the S&P 500 up 0.1% toward another record close.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 59 points, or 0.2%, to 28294, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.
Gold held its ground above the $1,480-an-ounce mark, consolidating in the wake of last week’s “phase-one” U.S.-China trade deal.
Gold for February delivery on Comex tacked on a dime, or 0.01%, to settle at $1,480.60 an ounce. March silver shed 4.1 cents, or 0.2%, to $17.072 an ounce, while March copper settled at $2.8135 a pound, up less than a penny, or 0.07%.
U.S. benchmark oil prices closed 1.2% higher at $60.94/bbl., the highest closing price since Sept. 16 and the fourth straight session of increases.
The British pound fell against the U.S. dollar intraday on mounting concern that the U.K. may break its ties with the European Union at the end of next year without a fresh trading agreement in place, clouding the nation’s economic prospects.
Sterling slipped 1.4%, its steepest daily decline in more than a year, to trade at $1.3153. The U.K.’s FTSE 250 index, which tracks companies with significant local operations, fell 1.4%-its biggest drop since Oct. 3.
In Europe, the pound and stocks fell amid worries the U.K. may eventually break its ties with the European Union without a trade agreement in place. Sterling slipped 1.4% against the U.S. dollar. The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 gauge dropped 0.7%.
The Nikkei Stock Average ended 0.5% higher at 24066.12, the highest close since October 2018.