ASX 200 to fall as Omicron concerns weigh on economic outlook

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Highlights

  • The Australian share market is expected to open lower on Thursday.
  • According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is likely open the day 40 points or 0.55% lower.
  • On Wall Street, the Dow Jones was up 0.099%, the S&P 500 was up 0.31%, and the NASDAQ settled 0.64% higher.

The Australian share market is expected to open lower on Thursday, likely weighed down by losses in heavyweight miners after steel futures fell due to muted downstream demand and easing raw material prices. The domestic shares are also likely to trade weak as Omicron worries weigh on economic outlook.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is likely open the day 40 points or 0.55% lower. On Wednesday, the benchmark index rose 1.25% to 7,405.4 points.

On the other hand, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Philip Lowe is scheduled to give a speech on payments on Thursday. It follows the reports that central bank and Treasury are considering allowing merchants to pass along fees from buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) companies.

Meanwhile, US shares gained after pharma major Pfizer said that a booster shot offered protection against the Omicron variant.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones was up 0.099%, the S&P 500 was up 0.31%, and the NASDAQ settled 0.64% higher.

MSCI's all-country world index advanced 0.34%, but the broad STOXX Europe 600 index closed down 0.44%.

Bond yields

  •  2-year yield: US 0.67%, Australia 0.66% (at 3:15 PM in New York)
  •  5-year yield: US 1.26%, Australia 1.34%
  • 10-year yield: US 1.51%, Australia 1.61%, Germany -0.32%

The dollar index fell 0.404% to 95.879. The euro rose 0.75% to US$1.1347, and the yen added 0.10% to US$113.68.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices rose as traders continued to buy oil amid easing concerns over the Omicron threat.

  • Brent crude futures rose US$0.38 to settle at US$75.82 a barrel.
  • WTI settled up US$0.31 to US$72.36 a barrel.

Gold prices inch higher

Gold prices rose after the US dollar softened overnight.

US gold futures settled mostly unchanged at US$1,785.50 an ounce.

Meanwhile, benchmark iron ore futures were up 1.5% at 659 yuan a tonne, extending gains to a third day, after jumping 4.2% earlier in the session.

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