In US economic data, the economy, as measured by GDP, contracted at a 0.6% annualised rate in the June quarter (survey: – 0.7%). Initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 243,000 in the past week
(survey: 252,000). The Kansas City Federal Reserve manufacturing activity index eased from +13 to +3 in August (survey: +10).

European sharemarkets climbed on Thursday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.3% with energy shares up by 1.0%. The German Dax index gained 0.4% after data showed Germany’s economy expanded by 0.1% in the June quarter, beating analyst expectations for a flat outcome. The UK FTSE index edged higher by 0.1%. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto rose by 0.4% and BHP shares lifted 1.8%.

US sharemarkets advanced on Thursday as investors focused on the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference for clues about the central bank’s policy outlook. Shares of Nvidia rose 4.0% after the
chipmaker gave a weaker-than-expected quarterly forecast that many investors viewed as signalling the worst of a sales downturn may be over. Apple (+1.5%) and (+2.6%) shares both lifted. But Tesla shares slid 0.4% after its 3-for-1 stock split came into effect. At the close of trade, the Dow Jones index rose by 323 points or 1.0%. The S&P 500 index lifted 1.4% and the Nasdaq index added 208 points or 1.7%.

US treasuries were stronger on Thursday (yields lower) amid uncertainty as to what US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell might say when he speaks on Friday at a global central bank
conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The US Treasury sold US$37 billion of 7-year notes at a yield of 3.13% into strong demand. US 10- year yields fell by around 7 points to near 3.03%. And US 2-year
yields dipped by around 1 point to near 3.37%.

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.0031 to lows near US$0.9947 and was near US$0.9975 at the US close. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US69.53 cents to highs near US69.90 cents and was near US69.80 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from near 136.32 yen per US dollar to JPY136.93 and ended US trade near JPY136.50 at the US close.


Top Australian Brokers


Global oil prices fell by around 2% on Thursday. Investors braced for the possible return to crude markets of sanctioned Iranian oil exports. Traders were also concerned that rising US interest rates
would weaken fuel demand. The Brent crude oil price fell by US$1.88 or 1.9% to US$99.34 a barrel. And the US Nymex crude oil price slid US$2.37 or 2.5% to US$92.52 a barrel.

Base metal prices were higher on Thursday. Copper advanced 1.3% with nickel 1.5% higher as fresh Chinese stimulus eased concerns over demand and tight global supply supported prices.

The gold futures price rose by US$9.90 an ounce or 0.6% to US$1,771.40 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,757 an ounce at the US close. Iron ore futures fell by US19 cents or 0.2% to
US$104.96 a tonne.

Ahead: In the US, Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivers a speech. The goods trade balance is issued with data on inventories, personal income and spending, consumer confidence and inflation.

Originally published by CommSec