Gold plunges, US markets erratic, but futures slightly in the black
Nearly every sector finished in positive territory on Tuesday as the S&P/ASX 200 index (XJO) chalked up another day of gains, increasing 29 points or 0.5% to close at 6139 points.
This followed a stellar start to the week on Monday, and with the ASX SPI200 index up nine points to 6103 points there is the prospect of further gains on Wednesday.
While overseas equities markets were generally buoyant there was weakness in a number of commodities, most notably gold which plunged more than 5% to hit a low of US$1911 per ounce.
This is likely to result in major gold stocks placing a drag on the broader index, nullifying the prospects of another positive day.
Despite grim news on the commodities front, there were some strong performances across major indices with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng soared 513 points or 2.1% to close at 24,890 points.
The mood was also positive in Japan with the Nikkei 225 up 420 points or 1.9% to 22,750 points.
The Shanghai Composite bucked the trend, coming off 39 points to close at 3340 points.
Sentiment was extremely positive in Europe with the FTSE 100 surging 1.7% or 103 points to 6154 points.
Mainland European markets followed suit with the DAX and the CAC 40 increasing 2% and 2.4% to close at 12,946 points and 5027 points respectively.
The Dow looked set to maintain the positive trend until the last hour of trading when it plunged more than 200 points to close down 104 points at 27,686 points.
It was a similar story with the NASDAQ as the index experienced most of its decline in afternoon trading, falling from nearly 11,000 points to close at 10,782 points, down 1.7%.
The declines were broadly put down to profit-taking, but it was generally tech stocks that negatively impacted both indices.
Apple Inc (-3%), Microsoft Corp (-2.3%) and Intel Corp. (-2.1%) were some of the main casualties.
The other negative news on the commodities front related to oil with the Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract falling from about US$45.50 per barrel to US$44.50 per barrel.
Iron ore was the pick of the metals, gaining 1.6% to break through US$120 per tonne.
Lead was the pick of the base metals as it pushed past the US$0.88 per pound mark for the first time since January.