OPENING CALL: The Australian share market is expected to open lower. The SPI200 futures contract expected to open down 10 points.
Fed Holds Benchmark Rate Steady – All 10 members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee voted to hold the fed-funds
rate in a range between 1.5% and 1.75% and reaffirmed its make-no-moves posture.
European Parliament Approves Brexit Divorce Deal – The formalities will be complete once the European Council informs the U.K. it has
ratified the agreement. EU leaders agreed to the deal with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson last October.
Each Market in Focus
Australian stocks closed 0.5% higher at 7031.5, rebounding strongly from the previous session’s sharp coronavirus-related sell-off. Nearly every sector gained as the S&P/ASX 200 benchmark clawed back nearly half of Tuesday’s losses.
The telco sector lost less than 0.1%, but consumer staples was dragged 2.6% lower by Treasury Wine’s unprecedented 26% fall after a round of analyst downgrades on a gloomy profit outlook. With Apple reporting record quarterly revenue after U.S. markets closed,
Australia’s tech sector led gains with a 1.7% rise. Healthcare rose 1.1% for a 10th gain in 11 sessions against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.
Major U.S. indexes climbed intraday, on pace for back-to-back days of gains, after better-than-expected earnings reports from Apple, McDonald’s and others helped the stock market further recover from its early-week selloff.
The Federal Reserve also left its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday and reaffirmed that it remains in a holding pattern, a move investors largely expected but added to their overall optimism on stocks right now.
The Dow industrials added 126 points, or 0.5%, to 28857, and the S&P 500 rose 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite also rose, adding 0.5%.
Shares of Apple advanced 3% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue in the latest quarter. General Electric also gave the market a boost after the industrial conglomerate gave an upbeat outlook for 2020, sending shares up 10%. And
shares of McDonald’s rose 2% after the fast-food chain also topped analysts’ expectations.
Oil futures saw mixed trading, with U.S. prices down after government data revealed that domestic crude inventories posted a bigger-than-expected weekly climb-their largest since November.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery CLH20, -0.34% on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 20 cents, or 0.4%, to $53.28 a barrel, while April Brent crude BRNJ20, +0.02% was down 21 cents, or nearly 0.4%, at $59.30 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
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