The Australian sharemarket looks set to start the final session of the year weaker, despite US stocks moving up on the back of stimulus and vaccine optimism .

The SPI futures index, down 0.25 per cent, or 16.5 points, pointed to a soft start as local investors look to close off a turbulent 2020, which has seen the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index recover from the pandemic-induced lows in March.

Having hit highs of 7162.5 points in February, the index tumbled to a low of 4546 points in March as COVID-19 footprint started to stretch beyond China. The market has since managed to pick itself up, ending the session on Wednesday at 6682.4 points. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was trading at US76.84 cents, it’s highest level since 2018.

Overnight, Wall Street nudged higher and the US dollar dipped to its lowest in more than two years. All three major US stock indexes were up modestly as recently enacted stimulus and the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines fed optimism over economic recovery in 2021.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent, or about 74 points, to post a near-record close of 30409.56. The S&P 500 gained 5 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 3,732.04 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.78 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 12,870.



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