Wall St higher as energy stocks gain, but North Korea weighs

Posted September 07, 2017

The Nasdaq Composite was up 10.73 points, or 0.17 percent, at 6,386.30.

Overnight, gold prices fell on Wednesday, as US political uncertainty eased after President Donald Trump agreed to raise the debt ceiling and extend government funding through December 15.

"The 10 basis point fall in Treasury yields is clearly not something the European market can ignore", said Mizuho rates strategist Antoine Bouvet.

In forex trading, the greenback weakened slightly to 108.75 yen from 108.79 yen in NY and 109.39 yen in Tokyo yesterday.

Asian stocks were mostly lower on Monday and safe-haven assets such as sovereign bonds, gold and the Japanese yen gained ground after North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was an advanced hydrogen bomb capable of being loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with "perfect success".

All the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, with a 0.67 percent rise in the energy index topping the advancers.

European and Asian shares dropped after the S&P 500 suffered its biggest one-day fall in three weeks on Tuesday as us investors sold in reaction to North Korea's sixth and biggest nuclear weapons test on Sunday.

In the absence of indicators or outcomes of the business major, " investors take into account the geopolitical and the potential risks related to tensions around North Korea ", said Bill Lynch of Hinsdale Associates.

The interest rate drops came as U.S. Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard said in her speech Tuesday that the Fed "should assess inflation developments closely before making a determination on further adjustments to the federal funds rate".

In the currency market, the Australian dollar has breached the US$0.80 mark.

The dollar was also under pressure because of lower-than-expected United States jobs data, which revealed that only 156,000 jobs were added in August, as against a market expectation of 180,000.

The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting (FOMC) is due to begin on September 19 and the USA central bank is widely expected to leave rates unchanged. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

A Federal Reserve survey showed the US economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace in July through mid-August.

-The British pound climbed 0.1 percent to $1.2942, the strongest in three weeks.

In the currency market, the yen, which usually gains on risk aversion due to Japan's net creditor nation status, was little change at 109.69 yen to the dollar, not far from Monday's high of 109.22 yen.

Oil stocks are also higher after crude oil prices rose nearly 3 percent overnight.

Against the yen, the dollar traded near its lowest levels since mid-April.