US markets continue to rally while Europe takes a breather
US markets registered their sixth consecutive day of gains on Thursday with the Dow rallying 0.3% to close at 21,082 points.
NASDAQ stocks also performed well with the index hitting an intraday record high of 6217 points before closing at 6205 points, a gain of 0.7%.
Commentary from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) provided investors with confidence. Previous talk of bringing the balance sheet into order tended to spook the market, but news that the process would be slow and measured eased concerns.
There was mixed news in Europe, but commentary from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had the most impact. Though an agreement to extend production cuts by nine months was a positive outcome, investors were hoping for signs that there would be an increase in the degree of supply cuts.
This prompted falls in the share prices of most European oil companies. Despite this impact, the FTSE 100 just managed to stay in positive territory, closing at 7517 points.
It was a different story in mainland Europe with the DAX shedding 0.2% to close at 12,621 points.
The Paris CAC 40 was relatively flat at 5337 points.
On the commodities front, oil was under the spotlight in response to the OPEC decision, and it plunged 5.1% to close at US$48.71 per barrel.
Gold gained 0.2% to close at US$1259 per ounce.
Base metals were mixed with copper being the standout performer as it gained 0.8% to close at US$2.58 per pound.
Lead broke its week-long losing streak as it closed just shy of US$0.94 per pound.
Zinc was relatively flat at US$1.18 per pound.
Nickel was disappointing as it fell circa 0.8% to close at US$4.08 per pound.
After pushing above US$0.75 on the previous day, the Australian dollar trended lower to US$0.745, broadly in line with where it started the week.
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