Daily Financial Markets Report: Wednesday, 19 February 2014

sacciDaily Financial Markets Report sources information from Business Day, Reuters, JSE Ltd and others.

Highlights

 U.S. stocks ended Tuesday generally higher with the Nasdaq Composite recording its eighth consecutive session of gains, the longest since July 2013. European stock markets moved lower at the open on Tuesday as investors waited for the German ZEW survey to indicate how optimistic economists are about the future in the euro zone’s largest economy. Asian markets were mostly lower Wednesday, with Japanese stocks retreating after a sharp gain in the previous session, while corporate earnings were the focus in Australia.

 Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 318.30/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 415.00/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 108.73 per barrel.

 The US dollar is currently trading at 1.37 to the euro, 1.66 to the pound and will buy 102.18 Japanese Yen or 10.83South African Rand.

International markets

U.S. stocks ended Tuesday generally higher with the Nasdaq Composite recording its eighth consecutive session of gains, the longest since July 2013. European stock markets moved lower at the open on Tuesday as investors waited for the German ZEW survey to indicate how optimistic economists are about the future in the euro zone’s largest economy. Asian markets were mostly lower Wednesday, with Japanese stocks retreating after a sharp gain in the previous session, while corporate earnings were the focus in Australia.

The S&P 500 index closed 2.13 points, or 0.1%, higher at 1 840.76, extending gains from the previous two sessions. Seven of 10 main sectors rose, with health-care stocks in the lead. The Nasdaq Composite rose 28.76 points, or 0.7%, to 4 272.78. The tech-heavy index outperformed other indexes so far this year, gaining 2.6% since the end of last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA defied the general trend and closed 0.2% higher.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2% to 333.86, on track to break a two-day winning run. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.2% to 6 725.77, France’s CAC 40 index dropped 0.2% to 4 327.96 and Germany’s DAX 30 index slipped 0.1% to 9 644.71.

The Nikkei was down 0.4%, pulling back from a sharp 3.1% rise in the previous session that was sparked by a surprise move by the Bank of Japan. Stocks in Tokyo enjoyed their best daily performance since August on Tuesday after the central bank took steps to encourage bank lending, raising expectations of looser monetary policy in the future. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% as stocks in Sydney reacted to more earnings reports.

The US dollar is currently trading at 1.37 to the euro, 1.66 to the pound and will buy 102.18 Japanese Yen or 10.83 South African Rand.

Domestic markets

The All Share index was 0.27% lower at 46 902, while the Top 40 index, which reached a new record on Monday, traded 0.27% lower at 42 362.

Commodities

Spot gold is currently trading at US$ 1 318.30/oz. and platinum at US$ 1 415.00/oz. Brent crude oil is currently trading at US$ 108.73 per barrel.

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