S&P 500 and NASDAQ hit record highs, metals rally, futures down 7 points

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Aug 19, 2020, in Market Wrap

The S&P/ASX 200 index (XJO) gained 47 points or 0.8% on Tuesday, closing at 6123 points.

The key catalysts behind the move were generally positive earnings results and news that a stimulus package may be imminent in the US, a development that should propel their markets.

However, as we write, the necessary legislation hasn’t been passed and the cheque is nowhere near in the mail.

Consequently, it could be argued that it is a little early to factor in potential upside from stimulus measures in US.

On the negative side of the ledger there was one very tangible development asChina launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine exports, arguably the thin edge of the wedge for the continued imposition of tariffs on our agricultural sector following recent targeting of our barley and beef industries.

This had a substantial impact on Treasury Wine Estate (ASX: TWE) yesterday as its shares plunged 15%.

Despite strength in US markets, the ASX SPI200 is down seven points to 6062 points.

24 hours

There was little movement in other Asia-Pacific markets yesterday with the Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite only gaining 20 points and 12 points respectively, while the Nikkei 225 shed 45 points or 0.2% to close at 23,051 points.

The mood was decidedly negative in Europe with the FTSE 100 setting the tone as it came off 50 points or 0.8% to close at 6076 points.

In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 was hardest hit as it fell 34 points or 0.7%, closing at 4938 points.

The DAX drops 39 points or 0.3% to close at 12,881 points.

The NASDAQ continued to be the standout performer in the US, notching up a new record of 11,230 points before closing at 11,210 points, up 0.7%.

The rally in technology stocks also helped to propel the S&P 500 to a new all-time closing high of 3389 points after hitting 3395 points in morning trading.

However, the Dow came off 67 points or 0.2% to close at 27,778 points.

On the commodities front, gold pushed up about 1% to US$2020 per ounce before closing at US$2013 per ounce.

The Brent Crude Oil Continuous Contract had a bumpy day before retracing late in the session to close at US$45 per barrel.

Iron ore was the big news story as it soared more than 5% to US$128.50 per tonne, suggesting it should be a good day for Rio, BHP and FMG.

There was also strength in base metals with copper hitting US$2.97 per pound, a level it hasn’t traded at since mid-2018.

Lead recorded its fourth consecutive day of gains, finishing only 0.3% shy of US$0.90 per pound, a level it hasn’t traded at since the start of year.

Nickel continued its rally, hitting US$6.60 per pound, a level it hasn’t traded at since October last year.

While zinc made a nominal gain to finish at US$1.11 per pound, this was still a significant achievement as it is only 2% shy of a seven month high.

With this across-the-board strength in base metals, South32 Ltd (ASX:S32) may be a stock to watch today.

The Australian dollar continued to strengthen against the US dollar, and it is now fetching close to US$0.725.

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