Australian Stock Market Report – Morning July 17, 2014

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By Craig James, CommSec Chief Economist | July 17, 2014 9:48 AM EST

Morning Report
(06:10 AEST)

The US Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, has expressed optimism on the economy: ´´I am optimistic about the economy and that´s reflected in the forecasts that are included in the monetary policy report.´´ Further, she noted: ´´...I do think the economy is recovering and that growth is picking up and that we have sufficient growth to support continued improvement in the labour market.´´


U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the Federal Reserve in Washington June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In US economic data, production rose 0.2% in June, short of forecasts tipping +0.4%. Producer prices rose by 0.4% in June, above the forecast +0.2% gain. But the core rate (excludes food and energy) rose by 0.2% as expected. Long-term capital flows into the US totalled US$19.4 billion in May.

European shares rose on Wednesday with investors comforted by firm Chinese economic data while there continued to be an easing of concerns about Portugal´s banks. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 1.3% with the German Dax up by 1.4% while the UK FTSE rose by 1.1%. Australia´s major miners were higher in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton up by 2.1% while Rio Tinto rose by 2.8%. 

US sharemarkets were higher on Wednesday. Shares in Intel rose by 9.3% after a solid earnings result. And shares in Time Warner rose by 17.1% after Twenty-First Century Fox confirmed that it made a $80 billion offer for the rival. The Dow Jones index rose by 77 points or 0.5% to record highs with the S&P 500 index up by 0.4% while the Nasdaq rose by 10 points or 0.2%.

US treasury prices were mixed on Wednesday as investors weighed testimony by Janet Yellen and mixed economic data. US 2 year yields were steady near 0.488% while US 10 year yields were down 2 points to 2.532%. 

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in the European and US sessions on Wednesday. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.3565 to US$1.3520, closing US trade near the day´s lows. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US93.30c to highs near US93.65c before ending the US session near US93.60c. And the Japanese yen held between 101.62 yen per US dollar and JPY101.79, ending US trade near JPY101.72. 

World oil prices were mixed on Wednesday. Brent crude fell by US17c or 0.2% to US$105.85 a barrel and the US Nymex price rose by US$1.24 a barrel or 1.2% to US$101.20 a barrel. Nymex rose in response to data showing that US oil stockpiles fell by 650,000 barrels in the latest week. But the Brent price was supported by solid Chinese economic data. 

Base metal prices were mixed on Wednesday but gains and losses didn´t exceed 0.8%. Copper fell 0.8% but aluminium rose by 0.7%. Gold prices rose after three days of losses with the Comex gold futures quote up by US$2.70 or 0.2% to US$1,299.80 per ounce. Iron ore was unchanged at US$98.00 a tonne on Wednesday. 

Ahead: Detailed job data for June is released In the US, weekly claims for unemployment insurance is released together with housing starts and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey. 

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U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the Federal Reserve in Washington June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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