OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open lower. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 26 points.
U.S. stocks have soared this year, due in part to a shift to lower interest rates and to signs of progress in trade negotiations. The S&P 500 has advanced 29% in 2019, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite has jumped 34%.
South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index ended the session 0.4% higher at 2204.18, the highest closing in over seven months. Tech firms and industrial stocks led the index higher.
Each Market in Focus
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3% lower at 6816.3 as weakness in energy stocks offset a strong performance by some big miners.
Friday’s fall meant the ASX 200’s weekly gain was capped at 1.1%, with yesterday’s unexpectedly strong jobs data failing to fire positive sentiment in local equities.
Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum fell 1.2% and Oil Search dropped 0.3%. However, Rio Tinto gained 1.4% and Newcrest rose 1.9%, among the miners. One of the strongest rises was Cimic’s 3.2% advance after it settled a class-action lawsuit and separately said its CPB Contractors business had secured three contracts from Rio Tinto.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are on pace to close the week up more than 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite is on track for a weekly gain of more than 2%.
In trading Friday, the S&P 500 added 0.6%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4%. If the Nasdaq Composite holds on to its daily gains, which recently stood at 0.4%,
The gold futures price fell by US$3.50 or 0.2% to US$1,474.70 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,478 an ounce in late US trade. Iron ore fell by US$2.30 or 2.5% to US$90.90 a tonne on oversupply concerns.
Oil futures finished sharply lower, with declines accelerating after a weekly report on drilling rigs showed a big increase.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery , the U.S. benchmark grade, fell 74 cents, or 1.2%, to trade at $60.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after gaining 0.5% on Thursday, when it marked its highest settlement since Sept. 16, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The dollar edged higher, continuing a trend from recent sessions as it tries to bounce back from declines earlier in the month. Starting late last month, the dollar underperformed as investors grew more optimistic about the economic outlook outside of the U.S. But the WSJ Dollar Index settled higher at 90.59, up from 90.45 Thursday and 90.15 at its recent low point on Monday.
European stocks traded higher after an upbeat start to trading on Wall Street. The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.8% and the CAC-40 and DAX both advanced 0.7% though the FTSE 100 only increased by 0.1% as sterling rose.
The pound made modest gains against the euro and the dollar after U.K. lawmakers approved the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 0.3% higher at 27871.35, helped by shares in property and consumer firms. Wharf Real Estate Investment rose 2.8%, China Overseas Land & Investment was 2.1% higher and China Resources Land gained 1.5%.
Among consumer stocks, Want Want China rose 1.5% and China Mengniu Dairy was up 1.0%. Bank stocks were mixed, with Bank of China up 0.3% and China Construction Bank down 0.3%. The markets are likely to be quiet ahead of the holiday season.
Japanese stocks ended down, weighed on by falls in electronics stocks as investors look for fresh trading cues. Electric-motor maker Nidec lost 2.2%, as did industrial-robot manufacturer Fanuc, while the Nikkei Stock Average slid 0.2% to 23816.63.
India’s benchmark Sensex eked out miniscule gains to close at a fresh record high of 41681.54 amid mixed Asian markets. However, losers outnumbered gainers 17-to-13 in the 30-share index.
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