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ASX 200 up 0.4%, employment data in focus

Published 18/04/2024, 08:01 am
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Investing.com - Australian shares are set to experience an upswing on Thursday after technology stocks' weakness led to a fourth consecutive day drop in the S&P 500 overnight, marking its longest losing streak since the start of the year.

The recent comments by US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, dismissing the possibility of interest rate cuts, coupled with a slump in oil prices, have added to the market's turbulence. However, the spotlight remains on local interest rates as Australia anticipates the release of its latest employment data.

The unemployment rate is expected to rise slightly to 3.9% from February's 3.7%, with some forecasts predicting a peak of 4.2%. A higher unemployment rate this month could push the prospect of rate cuts further down the line, affecting market dynamics.

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The Australian dollar saw a modest uptick, climbing by 0.5% to reach 64.35 US cents. In contrast, Bitcoin experienced a 2.6% downturn, valued at $US61,197 as of 6.17am AEST.

Wall Street had a mixed day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped by 0.1%, the S&P 500 declined by 0.6%, and the NASDAQ Composite fell by 1.2%.

In New York, mining giants BHP (ASX:BHP) Group Ltd ADR (NYSE:BHP) and Rio Tinto ADR (NYSE:RIO) saw their stocks rise by 2.6% and 1.7% respectively, while software company Atlassian Corp Plc (NASDAQ:TEAM) had a slight increase of 0.1%.

In the technology sector, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) decreased by 1.1%, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell by 0.7%, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped by 0.8%, and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) saw a significant 3.9% decline. Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), however, bucked the trend with a 0.6% increase, while both Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META) experienced a 1.1% drop.

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 index fell by 0.1%, the FTSE 100 rose by 0.4%, the DAX remained unchanged, and the CAC 40 saw a 0.6% rise.

In commodities, spot gold dropped by 0.4% to $US2372.77 per ounce as of 4.14pm in New York. Brent crude oil also saw a significant 2.9% decline to $US87.39 a barrel, while iron ore prices surged by 5.9% to $US115.85 a tonne.

Lastly, the 10-year yield rates stood at 4.58% for the US, 4.38% for Australia, and 2.46% for Germany.

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