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A fifth night of US gains points to fresh highs for Australian equities after Wall Street shrugged off turmoil on Asian markets.

ASX futures climbed 19 points or 0.26 per cent as US stocks eked out fresh records. Earnings optimism helped overcome an early wobble following sharp falls in Chinese and Hong Kong equities yesterday.

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto rallied in overseas trade as copper hit a six- week high. Iron ore rose for a second session. Oil extended its win streak to five. Gold dipped to a three-week low.

Wall Street

Stocks rose as investors positioned for a Federal Reserve policy update and earnings this week from the “Fab 5”: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.  

The S&P 500 rallied 11 points or 0.24 per cent to a new peak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 83 points or 0.24 per cent, also claiming a new high. The Nasdaq Composite completed a hat-trick of record closes for the major indices with a rise of four points or 0.03 per cent.

“US equities remain resilient as they continue to climb the wall of worry into record-high territory,” Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Sandler, told CNBC. “An impressive start to earnings season has kept the buy the dip sentiment alive and offset concerns over peak growth and rising new cases of coronavirus.”

A big week of tech earnings got off to a positive start. Recent concerns about economic growth have caused weakness in bond yields, drawing investors back to the stay-at-home stocks that outperformed last year.

Apple, Microsoft and Google parent company Alphabet report tonight. Alphabet climbed 0.77 per cent. Apple gained 0.29 per cent. Microsoft dipped 0.21 per cent.

Tesla advanced 2.21 per cent before reporting after the closing bell this morning. Shares in the electric car-maker rose another 2.47 per cent in after-hours trade after the company reported sales nearly doubled last quarter.

Chinese stocks listed in the US sank after a Chinese government crackdown on private tutoring and online education companies underlined regulatory risks to Chinese investments. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 4.13 per cent yesterday following the weekend announcement. China’s Shanghai Composite shed 2.34 per cent.

Crypto-stocks surged after Bitcoin briefly regained US$40,000. The largest of the digital tokens was lately up 0.53 per cent at US$37,798 after trading as high as US$40,502 overnight. Riot Blockchain gained 21 per cent. Marathon Digital Holdings added 20.05 per cent.

The Federal Reserve commences a two-day meeting tonight and is due to release a policy update on Wednesday night.

Australian outlook

Further gains looked likely at today’s open after ructions in Asia cruelled yesterday’s record push. The S&P/ASX 200 hit an all-time high at 7417.6 yesterday before finishing flat as heavy falls in Asia depressed US futures.

Wall Street quickly overcame an early wobble, gliding serenely to another round of record highs. Resource stocks provided much of the momentum. The energy sector climbed 2.5 per cent despite a mixed session on crude markets.

BHP and Rio Tinto were among the standouts (more below) as the US materials sector gained 0.88 per cent. The financial sector put on 0.54 per cent. Health was the only significant loss, falling 0.62 per cent.

The local market seems increasingly comfortable with an extended NSW lockdown as the “new normal”. Victoria and South Australia were set to emerge in the next few days after successfully reducing infection rates.

IPOs: Perth-based mining services firm Aquirian was due to list at 11.30 am AEST.

The dollar climbed 0.2 per cent to 73.82 US cents.


Iron ore edged higher for a second day following the commodity’s worst week since February 2020. The spot price for ore landed in China rose US$1.05 or 0.5 per cent to US$202.95 a tonne. Prices plunged around 10 per cent last week after China launched a production crackdown on steelmakers.

Copper surged to a six-week high as prices responded to the demand implications of infrastructure damage in central China following major flooding. China consumes around half of the world’s copper production.   

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 3.1 per cent to US$9,793.25 a tonne. Aluminium added 0.7 per cent, nickel 1.7 per cent, zinc 1.7 per cent and tin 0.8 per cent. Lead eased 0.1 per cent.

BHP‘s US-listed stock jumped 3.4 per cent and its UK-listed stock added 3.1 per cent. Rio Tinto put on 3.96 per cent in the US and 3.1 per cent in the UK.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, edged to a fifth straight gain as speculation about a Russian export ban provided support. Brent crude settled 40 US cents or 0.5 per cent ahead at US$74.50 a barrel. The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, slipped 16 cents or 0.2 per cent to US$71.91.

Gold lost its hold on the US$1,800 level, settling at its lowest in almost three weeks. Metal for August delivery settled US$2.60 or 0.1 per cent in the red at US$1,799.20 an ounce. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index rose 1.66 per cent.

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