Australian shares are set to open lower, after U.S. indexes fell on inflation concerns.

ASX futures were down 0.9% or 74 points as of 8:00am on Thursday, suggesting a lower open.

U.S. stocks ended broadly lower with major indexes pulling back from all-time highs as investors continue to weigh the pace of possible Fed rate cuts.

DJIA fell 201 points, or 0.5%, to 39,671, the S&P 500 lost 0.3% to 5,307 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.2% to 16,801.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was down 1.4% to US$81.72 a barrel, while gold was down 1.7% at US$2,378.85.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was up at 3.99% while the 10 Year yield was also up at 4.28%. US Treasury notes were up, with the 2 Year yield at 4.87% and the 10 Year yield at 4.42%.

The Australian dollar was 66.11 US cents, down from its previous close of 66.64. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 99.60.


Chinese shares closed broadly higher, supported by the solar sector's sharp gains. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended flat at 3158.54, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.2% and the ChiNext Price Index gained 0.9%. Solar stocks rallied after the China Photovoltaic Industry Association said it will step up the monitoring of industry competition. Trina Solar and Jinko Solar led gains, advancing 18% and 11%, respectively. JA Solar Technology rose 10% and LONGi Green Energy Technology was up 6.9%. Meanwhile, home-appliance stocks fell. Haier Smart Home and Midea Group declined 2.0% and 1.7%, respectively.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index ended 0.1% lower at 19195.60 amid sharp gains and losses among tech and property names. The Hang Seng Tech Index rose 0.3%. Lenovo surged 12% after saying it will launch an AI-focused PC with Microsoft, while developer Country Garden Services rose 7.6% amid positive sentiment toward China's property sector. Xinyi Solar added 6.6% after Chinese regulators said they would step up competition monitoring. XPeng rose 13% after its 1Q loss narrowed. On the losing side, e-commerce giant fell 2.3%, while property stocks Sino-Ocean and Longfor slid 3.6% and 2.25% respectively. Oil majors Cnooc and PetroChina also fell.

Japanese stocks ended lower, dragged by falls in real-estate and pharmaceutical stocks amid concerns about higher borrowing costs. Chugai Pharmaceutical dropped 3.8% and Mitsui Fudosan lost 3.6%. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield rose 1.5 basis points to 0.995% after briefly touching the psychological threshold of 1.000%, its highest level since May 2013. The 30-year yield climbed 5.5 basis points to 2.140%. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.8% to 38617.10. Investors will be focusing on the minutes of the Fed latest policy meeting due later in the day.

Indian shares ended higher, with gains in tech and consumer goods offsetting weakness in steel and finance. Hindustan Unilever added 2.45%, Reliance Industries rose 1.7%, Infosys gained 1.4% and ITC added 1.1%. Decliners included Tata Steel and JSW Steel, which fell 0.6% and 0.9%, respectively, and ICICI Bank and State Bank of India, which shed 0.7% and 1.35%, respectively. Earnings remain in focus, with Hindalco Industries, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Mahindra & Mahindra soon to report. The benchmark Sensex closed 0.4% higher at 74221.06.


Stocks in the U.K. closed lower Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 Index dropping 0.6% to 8,370.33.

Among large companies, SSP Group PLC posted the largest decline, dropping 9.0% to GBP190.00, followed by shares of Dowlais Group PLC, which dropped 6.1% to GBP72.15. Shares of Pennon Group PLC dropped 5.2% to GBP679.50.

Big Yellow Group PLC was the biggest gainer during the session, gaining 4.9% to GBP1,238.00, and Hargreaves Lansdown PLC gained 4.2% to GBP932.80. Schroders PLC rounded out the top three movers on Tuesday, as shares gained 3.9% to GBP384.80.

In Europe, shares closed lower, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index down 0.3% to 521.18, Germany's DAX losing 0.3% to 18,680.20 and France's CAC 40 slipping 0.6% to 8,092.11.

North America

Stocks fell Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed concerns about persisting inflation and cast more doubt on when officials might cut interest rates.

DJIA fell 201 points, or 0.5%, to 39,671, the S&P 500 lost 0.3% to 5,307 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.2% to 16,801.

Minutes from the Fed's meeting three weeks ago showed policymakers were uncertain about sticky price pressures and agreed that recent data didn't make them confident that inflation was moving toward the central bank's 2% goal.

Some officials mentioned "a willingness to tighten policy further should risks to inflation materialize in a way that such an action became appropriate," the minutes said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note -- a benchmark for mortgages and other borrowing costs -- rose to 4.433%, from 4.414% on Tuesday.

Investors' expectations for rate cuts were upended earlier this year after a string of firmer-than-anticipated inflation reports. But after a pullback in April, stocks have rallied this month. A slowdown in jobs growth and more encouraging inflation data revived hopes that rate cuts are still in the cards this year. The S&P 500 is up 5.4% this month.

Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Asset Management Group, said his firm believes the Fed is likely to cut rates twice this year, but noted that the risk of inflation picking up isn't priced into the stock market.

"High inflationary tendencies are not necessarily subsiding anytime soon, " said Freedman.

Investors braced for earnings results from Nvidia after the market closed Wednesday, with shares slipping 0.5% in the regular session. The stock rose in after hours trading after the chip maker reported record quarterly revenue, raised its dividend and announced a 10-for-1 stock split.

Traders see Nvidia's results as a test of strength for the artificial-intelligence enthusiasm that has helped power the market for the past year.

"We're still in the early innings of what appears to be this next big evolution in technology and technology spending," said Matthew Stith, portfolio manager and director of equity research at Bartlett Wealth Management. "That being said, coming into 2024, some of the expectations were probably a little bit elevated."

In other quarterly earnings, Target shares fell 8% after the company reported a fourth consecutive quarter of declining comparable sales. Its results showed shoppers pulling back on discretionary spending, as they contended with elevated prices for everyday necessities.

Toll Brothers shares declined 8.5% despite the home builder's better-than-expected profit report.

Shares of solar companies extended a recent rally, boosted by optimism that new tariffs on Chinese solar panels, surging power demand and federal subsidies will boost the sector. First Solar shares rose 19% and Enphase Energy added 8.7%.