Mixed leads from overseas markets but SPI200 points to a good day
The ASX lost its way on Tuesday after being up more than 50 points in morning trading.
It would appear that some negative sentiment emerged in the afternoon ahead of the release of CPI data today.
The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) finished the session 8 points lower at 5313 points.
The SPI200 Index is pointing to a more positive performance today, up 20 points to 5325 points.
However, overseas markets were mixed, and the US ended the day poorly shedding approximately 100 points in the last 30 minutes.
Most of the big tech stocks report over the coming days, and there was already evidence of possible disappointments late yesterday when Alphabet Inc (US:GOOG) reported a significant slowdown in sales and lower profits than expected.
With heavy hitters such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook and Amazon Inc to report over the coming two days, it is difficult to predict the direction of the US market.
Looking across the various time zones, the Nikkei 225 performed just as erratically as the ASX, slumping from an early-stage high of 19,841 points to a low of 19,638 points before closing relatively flat at 19,771 points.
The Hang Seng rallied 1.2% to close at 24,575 points, but the Shanghai Composite gave up ground, falling 0.2% to 2810 points.
The UK was the best performing market overnight as the FTSE 100 gained nearly 2% or 111 points to close at 5958 points with the big banks being key drivers led by a 7% increase in Barclays plc.
Mainland Europe was also robust with the DAX and the CAC 40 up 1.3% and 1.4% to close at 10,795 points and 4569 points respectively.
The Dow seemed to take Europe’s positive lead as it was up about 300 points early in the session, but these gains were erased as it fell steeply in the last half hour, finishing just over 0.1% or 32 points lower to close at 24,101 points.
The S&P 500 shed 0.5% or 15 points, closing at 2863 points.
Indicative of the nervousness surrounding technology stocks, the NASDAQ slumped 1.4% or 122 points to close at 8,607 points.
The CBOE Volatility Index spiked early in the day from about 31 points to 35 points, before closing at 33.6 points.
On the commodities front, gold finished relatively flat at US$1724 per ounce.
Brent crude increased more than 2.6% to close above US$20 per barrel.
Iron ore continued its slide, falling 1.5% to US$82.20 per tonne.
All of the key base metals gained ground, but zinc was the standout performer, notching up its third consecutive day of increases to close at approximately US$0.87 per pound, up more than 3% in three days.
The Australian dollar gained ground against the US dollar, pushing up to US$0.65 towards the end of the session, a level it hasn’t traded at since early March.
This comes ahead of US first-quarter GDP data and pending home sales in March, suggesting that currency investors may be expecting some fairly dour news.
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