Gold hits US$2000 per ounce, NASDAQ sets new high, futures up 31 points

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Aug 18, 2020, in Market Wrap

The S&P/ASX 200 index (XJO) shed 50 points on Monday to close at 6076 points with weakness across the banks largely responsible for the decline.

Today though, our market should be buoyed by strong leads from overseas where the NASDAQ closed at a record high and the S&P 500 finished just shy of the record high struck in February just prior to the onset of coronavirus.

The ASX SPI200 futures index points to a robust day ahead, up 31 points to 6052 points.

Gold stocks could come back into favour today as the precious metal touched US$2000 per ounce last night

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While the Nikkei 225 came off 0.8% or 192 points to close at 23,096 points, the mood was positive elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Shanghai Composite was the standout performer, gaining 78 points or 2.3% to close at 3438 points, just 20 points shy of the index’s 12 month high.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rallied 0.6% or 164 points, closing at 25,347 points.

The positive sentiment rubbed off on the European region with the FTSE 100 posting a gain of 37 points, up 0.6% to 6127 points.

Mainland European markets were more subdued with the DAX and the CAC 40 up less than 0.2%, closing at 12,920 points and 4972 points respectively.

In the US, it was once again the NASDAQ that was the standout performer, gaining 110 points or 1% to close at 11,130 points after hitting a record high of 11,144 points.

Tesla Inc continued to shine, breaking through US$1800 per share for the first time, and its shares have now increased more than four-fold in five months.

Elsewhere, Nvidia was up 7% and most of the FAANGs finished the day well after some made a sluggish start.

The gain in the S&P 500 was more measured, up 0.3% or nine points to 3382 points, nearly eclipsing the all-time closing high of 3386 points.

However, the Dow failed to follow these strong leads, falling 0.3% or 86 points to close at 27,845 points.

On the commodities front, gold will be the one to watch today with the precious metal closing at US$1998 per ounce, up 2.3% on the day.

The Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract dipped early in the day before recovering to close at US$45.37 per barrel.

Iron ore continued to tread water as it consolidated in the vicinity of US$122 per tonne.

Among the base metals, copper continued its erratic ups and downs, finishing at US$2.93 per pound.

Conversely, lead strung together another solid gain as it finished just shy of US$0.89 per pound, leaving it within striking distance of the psychological US$0.90 per pound mark, a level it plunged quickly to in October/November last year after peaking at just over US$1.00 per pound.

Nickel was also in favour, gaining 1% to close at US$6.55 per pound, surpassing the nine month high of US$6.50 per pound struck earlier in the month.

However, when it comes to percentage gains, zinc was the standout performer as it rallied 3% to hit US$1.10 per pound for the first time since the start of the year when the metal declined sharply from just above US$1.10 per pound to bottom out close to US$0.80 per pound.

The Australian dollar broke through US$0.72 early in the session, and it looks set to consolidate around that level.

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