The share market’s three-session win streak faces an early test after US stocks edged higher ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Australian index futures eased 10 points or more than 0.1 per cent to 6785 as Wall Street battled to extend this month’s run of record closes.
Positive signs on trade negotiations proved just enough to offset position-squaring ahead of tomorrow night’s US market holiday and Friday’s abbreviated session. The S&P 500 edged up seven points or 0.22 per cent to a new closing high. The Dow secured a gain of 55 points or 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq 15 points or 0.18 per cent.
The outlook for a trade deal continued to set the market tone. China’s Commerce Ministry said lead negotiators from both sides spoke by phone and reached a “consensus on how resolve related issues”. US President Donald Trump told reporters they were in the “final throes” of securing a deal.
Retail stocks outperformed ahead of Black Friday sales and the Christmas shopping season after Best Buy raised its earnings guidance. Shares in the electronics retailer surged 9.9 per cent as it smashed third-quarter earnings and revenue guidance and said it was excited about the holiday season. Amazon gained 1.3 per cent.
The rally in retailers came despite another wobble in consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s confidence index slipped to 12.5.5 this month from 126.1 last month. While the decline was the index’s fourth in a row, confidence levels remained well above long-term averages.
Disney provided much of the momentum on the Dow, rising 1.3 per cent on reports its streaming service is averaging almost a million new subscribers every day. The subscription service has exceeded expectations, gaining 10 million subscribers within a day of its launch.
Australian stocks closed at a one-week peak yesterday after a three-day rally as iron ore prices surged and the banks rebounded. The ASX 200 yesterday put on 56 points or 0.8 per cent.
The rally in iron ore stuttered, a ten-day winning run for the spot price at Tianjin ending with a fall of $1.75 or 1.9 per cent yesterday to $US88.70 a dry ton. BHP’s US-listed stock gained 0.21 per cent after its UK-listed stock put on 0.8 per cent. Rio Tinto added 0.37 per cent in the US and 0.81 per cent in the UK.
Oil secured its fourth gain in five sessions on optimism a trade deal will lift demand. Brent crude settled 62 cents or 0.9 per cent ahead at $US64.27 a barrel.
Industrial metals also caught an updraft from trade hopes. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 1 per cent, aluminium 1 per cent, lead 0.4 per cent, nickel 0.7 per cent and zinc 0.8 per cent. Tin declined 0.9 per cent.
Gold attracted a bid as it traded near recent support levels. Gold for December delivery settled $3.40 or 0.2 per cent higher at $US1,460.30 an ounce after finding support around the $US1,450 level.
The dollar edged up more than a tenth of a cent to 67.85 US cents.
Looking ahead, quarterly construction figures are due at 1.30 am EST. Wall Street has a deluge of economic data due tonight ahead of the Thanksgiving break, including durable goods, preliminary GDP, personal spending and incomes, crude oil inventories and the Federal Reserve’s “beige book”.