Australian Shares Extend Gains
The ASX 200 gained 11.80 points or 0.17% to 6790.60 on Thursday, extending gains of 0.5% in the previous session as optimistic comments about the economic recovery by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen boosted investor sentiment, while technology shares declined for the 2nd straight day. Local 10-year yields rose to 1.696% while US 10-year rates lifted to 1.614% after Fed chair Powell’s reassurance that the recent jump in long term bond yields was mostly a sign of confidence that the economy is improving. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is considering large additional spending on infrastructure that will be launched next week. Among individual stocks, buy-now-pay-later Afterpay fell 1.09% to near 3-month lows and artificial intelligence developer Appen plunged 3.52%.
China Stocks Taper Gains
The Shanghai Composite Index pared gains in afternoon trade on Thursday, after reports that the US securities regulator adopted measures that would kick foreign companies off American stock exchanges if they do not comply with US auditing standards. The move by the Securities and Exchange Commission adds to the ongoing regulatory crackdown in China on domestic technology companies. Sentiment was largely supported by US President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan worth up to $3 trillion for rebuilding America’s infrastructure and tackling climate change and domestic policy issues. On the pandemic front, local media reported that China’s daily output of COVID-19 vaccines has reached about 5 million doses, more than tripling than the production rate in February. Gainers were mainly seen for the healthcare sector, basic materials, and energy.
New Zealand Shares Close Slightly Higher
The NZX 50 added 29.18 points or 0.24% to 12388.06 on Thursday, following losses of 0.29% in the previous session amid a rally in the utilities and energy sectors. Still, concerns about surging coronavirus cases and extended lockdowns in Europe continued to cap much of the upside momentum. The Kiwi Dollar also traded at 4-month lows after government passed policy designed to slow property market speculation earlier this week. Meantime, Oil pared a rally sparked by shipping disruption after a container vessel blocked the Suez Canal. Among individual stocks, Westpac lost 0.57% after reporting to the NZX it was “assessing the appropriate structure for its New Zealand business and whether a demerger would be in the best interests of shareholders”.