In US economic data, the leading index was unchanged in May (forecast +0.1%). The Philadelphia Federal Reserve index fell from +16.6 points to +0.3 points in June (forecast +11). The current account deficit narrowed from US$143.9 billion to US$130.4bn in the March quarter (forecast US$125bn). New claims for unemployment insurance fell 6,000 in the latest week to 216,000 (forecast 220,000).
US share markets rose on Thursday with the broader S&P 500 index at all-time highs. Investors anticipated lower interest rates in coming months, boosting interest in equities. The energy sector also gained 2.2% in response to higher oil prices. Boosting tech shares was Oracle, its shares up 8.2% after flagging better-than-expected profits. Economic data was largely mixed. The Dow Jones index rose by 249 points or 0.9%. The S&P500 index lifted by almost 28 points or 1.0% and the Nasdaq rose by 61 points or 0.8%.
US treasuries were firmer (yields lower) on Thursday after the Federal Reserve laid the groundwork for rate cuts. Economic data showed a still tight job market while activity eased in the Philadelphia region. US 2-year yields fell by less than 1 point to 1.765% and US 10-year yields were lower by 1 point to 2.02%.
European share markets were firmer on Thursday on expectations of easier monetary policy in the US. The pan-European STOXX600 index rose 0.4% to six-week highs. The German Dax rose by 0.4% to 9-month highs and the UK FTSE gained 0.3%. Swiss shares hit record highs on better-than-expected watch export data. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto rose by 0.7% and BHP gained 2.0%.
Major currencies were firmer against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the end of Asian trade. The Euro rose from US$1.1265 to US$1.1315 and was around US$1.1290 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar rose from US68.90 cents to near US69.35 cents and was near US69.20 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen lifted from 107.85 yen per US dollar to JPY107.20 and was near JPY107.30 in late US trade.
Global oil prices soared 4-5% on Thursday on news that a US drone was shot down in international waters near Iran. Also supporting commodity prices were expectations of a US rate cut in coming months. Lower interest rates should support oil demand. The Brent crude price rose by US$2.63 or 4.3% to US$64.45 a barrel. And the US Nymex rose by US$2.89 or 5.4% to US$56.65 a barrel.
Base metal prices were generally higher. Nickel rose 1.7% but lead was up the least, up 0.5%. Aluminium was flat but zinc fell by 1.0%.
The gold futures price rose by US$48.10 an ounce or 3.6% to US$1,396.90 an ounce. The spot gold price was trading near US$1,389 an ounce in late US trade. Iron ore rose by US$3.30 or 2.9% to US$117.55 a tonne.
In Australia, CBA 'flash' purchasing managers survey is released. In the US data on existing home sales is released together with the 'flash' purchasing manager indexes. Federal Reserve presidents Brainard and Mester deliver speeches.
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