Australian shares are set to open higher, after a mixed session on Wall St that saw the S&P 500 reach a new milestone.

ASX futures were up 0.2% or 13 point as of 8:30am on Wednesday, suggesting a higher open.

The S&P 500 ended at a new high for the third consecutive session, while an 11% decline in 3M following its 4Q earnings dragged the Dow Industrials lower.

DJIA fell 96 points to 37905, while the S&P 500 gained 0.3% to 4864 and the Nasdaq rose 0.4% to 15425.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil fell 0.4% to US$79.72 a barrel while gold was up 0.3% to US$2,028.45.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was down at 3.88% while the 10 Year yield was down at 4.19%. US Treasury notes were mixed, with the 2 Year yield down at 4.38% and the 10 Year yield up at 4.14%.

The Australian dollar hit 65.72 US cents up from the previous close of 65.67. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 98.04.


Chinese shares closed higher as investor sentiment was lifted by a Bloomberg report of possible $278 billion market rescue package. That followed calls by Premier Li for more proactive measures to stabilize the market. However, analysts remain skeptical about the legitimacy and effectiveness of potential stimulus measures. Energy and auto stocks led the gains. China Shenhua Energy rose 2.0% and BYD added 1.35%. Beijing Kingsoft Office put on 3.6% and East Money Information advanced 2.4%. China Tourism Group Duty Free dropped 1.0%. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.5% higher at 2770.98. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.95% and the ChiNext Price Index climbed 1.2%.

Hong Kong shares snapped a recent slump to notch their best day of 2024 so far, led by a rally in tech and property stocks. In focus were China stimulus hopes, sparked by a Bloomberg report of a potential $278 billion rescue package and Premier Li's calls for more proactive measures. Though cautious about the report, Saxo market strategist Redmond Wong thinks structural economic reforms will be key to restoring investor confidence. Real-estate shares rebounded from Monday's rout, when the Hang Seng Properties Index fell to its lowest since 2009. China Resources Land rose 7.6%. Tech stocks gained too, with Tencent 3.7% higher and Baidu up by 3%. The Hang Seng Index rose 2.6% to 15353.98; the Hang Seng Tech Index gained 3.7%.

Japanese shares ended lower, dragged by financial stocks after the Bank of Japan maintained its extraordinary easing program. T&D Holdings shed 2.9% and Nomura Holdings dropped 1.3%. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield fell 1.5 basis points to 0.635%. The Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.1% lower at 36517.57 after rising to a new 34-year intraday high. Investors will focus on BOJ Gov. Kazuo Ueda's press conference later in the day for cues on possible future policy shifts. USD/JPY was at 148.16, compared with 148.11 as of Monday 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Indian shares closed lower, reversing opening gains. The benchmark Sensex fell 1.5% to 70370.55, dragged by losses in financial and technology stocks. IndusInd Bank led declines on the index, falling 5.9%. State Bank of India dropped 4.2%. Tech Mahindra shed 1.5% ahead of earnings due Wednesday. Axis Bank fell 2.8% after the company reported quarterly results, while Bajaj Finance lost 3.2%. Zee Entertainment plunged 33% after Sony Group canceled the merger of its Indian unit with the media company. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries was among the few gainers, rising 4.05%.


European stocks dropped after mixed Asia trading. The Stoxx Europe 600 and CAC 40 fall 0.2% and the FTSE 100 and DAX retreated 0.1%. Brent crude backtracked 0.5% to $79.68 a barrel. IG futures data show the Dow opening at 37994, versus Monday's close of 38001. Markets in Australia, mainland China and Hong Kong rose, though Japanese stocks fell. "The Bank of Japan left policy unchanged at its meeting, noting that deflationary expectations were firmly entrenched in Japan," IG analysts write. "The next policy meeting is mid-March, but annual wage talks will still be in progress then, so markets are unlikely to see any movement in policy until April 26 at the earliest."

London's blue-chip index ended the session rather flat at 7,485.73 points. The index fought to move higher during the session, closing a touch lower, down just 0.026%, as buyers and sellers fought hard to establish control, IG analyst Chris Beauchamp says. "The urge to go dip-buying remains strong, but last week's U.K. CPI figure continues to loom large as traders reprice expectations around the BOE's next move," he says, adding that the FTSE 100 has been unable to match recent U.S. gains without any artificial intelligence or tech stocks to lift it. "The FTSE 100 stuck its feet firmly in the ground and refused to budge as a rally in 'risk-on' sectors such as mining, packaging and gambling was offset by investors selling down more 'risk-off' defensive holdings including tobacco and pharmaceutical companies," AJ Bell's Danni Hewson says.

North America

The S&P 500 ended at a new high for the third consecutive session, while an 11% decline in 3M following its 4Q earnings dragged the Dow Industrials lower.

DJIA fell 96 points to 37905, while the S&P 500 gained 0.3% to 4864 and the Nasdaq rose 0.4% to 15425.

Reactions to earnings were mixed as Procter & Gamble gained 4.1%, and Verizon rose 6.7%, while GE, J&J and D.R. Horton all lost ground.

The dollar strengthens against the euro and yen, and Treasury yields climb, though oil prices fall.

Big technology companies pushed higher, helping to lift the Nasdaq.