NASDAQ surges, strength in metals, but ASX set to open lower

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Sep 15, 2020, in Market Wrap

After last week’s rollercoaster ride, there was a real sense of confidence that was maintained throughout the day with the S&P/ASX 200 index (XJO) closing at 5900 points on the back of a strong finish in the last hour.

This represented a gain of 41 points or 0.5%, and with a robust lead coming out of the US last night, this positive momentum could continue.

Tech stocks led the way with Apple Inc being one of the strongest performers.

US trends, along with strength in key commodities such as iron ore, gold, and base metals suggests we could be in for another positive day, but the ASX SPI200 suggests otherwise, down 13 points to 5893 points.

There was also positive news on the vaccine front with AstraZeneca resuming trials and the new kid on the block Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) surging approximately 50% after it received clearance from the FDA to start human trials of its vaccine.

NASDAQ back in favour

These developments had the most impact on the NASDAQ with the index spiking 203 points or 1.9% to close at 11,056 points.

The S&P 500 gained 42 points, closing at 3383 points, while the Dow closed in on 28,000 points with a gain of 1.2% or 327 points.

It was a different story in Europe where markets traded very indifferently.

After a solid start, the FTSE 100 gave up 50 points throughout the day to finish at 6026 points, a decline of 0.1%.

It was a similar story in Germany with the DAX up about 140 points when the market opened before flat-lining during afternoon trading, eventually finishing down nine points at 13,193 points.

The Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract pushed above US$40 per barrel early in the session, but it faded later in the day to close at US$39.61 per barrel.

Iron ore rallied 1.4% to edge above the US$130 per tonne mark.

Gold stocks could be back in favour today with the precious metal having hit US$1972 per ounce overnight, and it continues to hover just below that mark.

There were also some strong gains across base metals, suggesting it could be our miners that lead the way today.

Copper was the standout performer, hitting US$3.09 per pound, a level it hasn’t traded at since mid-2018, and only about 5% shy of a long-term high.

With five-year London Metals Exchange copper warehouse stock levels at record lows it wouldn’t be surprising to see the red metal test its long-term high.

There was also strong support for nickel, another key ingredient in stainless steel, as it hit US$6.85 per pound.

Zinc and lead also made solid gains, but they are clawing their way back from some steep declines in the last fortnight.

The Australian dollar strengthened slightly last night, pushing just above the US$0.73 mark, and it continues to hover in that vicinity.

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