In US economic data, new claims for unemployment insurance (jobless claims) rose by 4,000 to 230,000 in the past week (survey: 230,000). Continuing jobless claims rose by 62,000 to 1.671 million (survey: 1.6m).

European sharemarkets were slightly weaker on Thursday, dropping for the fifth straight session. Banks lost 0.3% but technology shares rose by 0.6%, energy gained 0.2% and miners rose 1.2%. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group fell 6.4% after UBS cut its rating and price target. Shares in British American Tobacco lost 3.1% after the tobacco firm after it flagged a big lift in net finance costs. Shares in Credit Suisse rose 3.2% as it headed into the final stage of a 4 billion Swiss francs (US$4.25 billion) cash call. The continent-wide FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by 0.1% and the UK FTSE 100 fell by 0.2%.

US sharemarkets were firmer on Thursday. A lift in new claims for unemployment insurance was cited as evidence that the economy was slowing. Energy stocks fell 0.5% with technology up 1.6%. Shares in Moderna rose 3.2% after the US Food and Drug Administration authorised Covid-19 vaccine shots for children as young as six months of age. At the close, the Dow Jones index was up 184 points or 0.6%. The S&P 500 index was up 0.8%. And the Nasdaq index lifted 123 points or 1.1%.

US government bonds were weaker on Thursday (yields higher). US 10-year Treasury yields rose by around 8 points to near 3.49%. And US 2-year Treasury yields rose by around 6 points to near 4.32%.

Major currencies rose against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.0490 to highs near US$1.0560 and was near US$1.0555 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US67.05 cents to highs near US67.80 cents and was near US67.70 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen rose from 137.15 yen per US dollar to JPY136.33 and was near JPY136.65 in late US trade.


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Global oil prices eased around 1% on Thursday. Investors focussed on sweeping changes to China’s Covid-19 restrictions. Investors also weighed news that a key Canada-US crude pipeline could return to service after a leak had previously stopped this supply route. Canada’s TC Energy said it shut its giant 622,000 barrel-per-day Keystone crude oil pipeline after an oil spill into a Kansas creek. The Brent crude oil price fell by US$1.02 or 1.3% to US$76.15 a barrel. And the US Nymex crude oil price fell by US55 cents or 0.8% to US$71.46 a barrel.

Base metal prices were higher on Thursday. Copper rose 0.6% after Goldman Sachs lifted its price target. And aluminium was up 0.5%.

The gold futures price rose by US$3.50 an ounce or 0.2% to US$1,801.50 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,790 an ounce in late US trade. Iron ore futures rose by US$2.40 a tonne or 2.2% to US$109.49 a tonne.

Ahead: No major data is released in Australia. In China, inflation data is scheduled.

In the US, the producer price index is issued with the consumer sentiment survey and wholesale inventories.

Originally published by CommSec