Australian shares are set to open lower, after US stocks ended Tuesday's session slightly higher.

ASX futures were down 0.1% or 4 points as of 8:00am on Wednesday, suggesting a lower open.

The S&P 500 staged a midday reversal and eked out a gain for a third consecutive day.

The broad index edged up 0.2% to 5,291.34, the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.2% to 16,857.05, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 38,711.29.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was down 1.5% to US$77.18 a barrel, while gold was down 1.0% at US$2,327.01.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was down at 4.04% while the 10 Year yield was also down at 4.30%. US Treasury notes were down, with the 2 Year yield at 4.77% and the 10 Year yield at 4.33%.

The Australian dollar was 66.47 US cents, down from its previous close of 66.87. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 99.06.


Chinese stocks ended higher, supported by pharmaceutical and real estate stocks. UBS analysts reckon a gradual stabilization of China's property sales over the next two quarters could help household confidence and consumption to bounce back; this could lead to a more sustainable rally for Chinese equities, they add. WuXi AppTec rose 3.05% and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine gained 3.1%. Poly Developments & Holdings Group was 3.1% higher and China Vanke put on 3.3%. Contemporary Amperex Technology gained 1.7%. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.4% higher at 3,091.20, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.45%, and the ChiNext Price Index was up 1.3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.1% to 18,422.20, erasing early losses. Sentiment in Asian equities markets was likely boosted by robust manufacturing PMIs released across some Asian economies for May, including in China where the Caixin China manufacturing PMI rose to a two-year high, the UOB Global Economics & Markets Research team wrote in a note. Among advancers, Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group rose 3.0%, Shenzhou International Group gained 3.3% and Zhongsheng Group was 2.5% higher. Oil stocks declined, tracking lower oil prices, with PetroChina losing 2.9%, CNOOC down 2.4% and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation shedding 1.7%.

Japanese stocks ended lower, dragged by falls in financial and energy stocks, as concerns grow about signs of U.S. economic weakness. Dai-ichi Life Holdings dropped 3.4% and Resona Holdings lost 4.3%, while Inpex shedded 3.8% and Japan Petroleum Exploration dropped 3.1%. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.2% to 38,837.46. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield fell 3 basis points to 1.030%. Investors are focusing on economic data and their policy implications.

Indian shares fell, reversing the previous day's rally. The benchmark Sensex dropped 5.7% to close at 72,079.05, marking its largest one-day percentage loss in more than four years. The selloff came as early results for the country's national elections indicate that the ruling coalition wouldn't win a decisive victory as predicted by exit polls. Investors are waiting for the final election results due later today. NTPC led losses, dropping 15% and State Bank of India lost 14%. Power Grid Corp. of India was down 12%. Among the few gainers, Hindustan Unilever rose 6.0% and Nestle India was up 3.1%.


Stocks in the U.K. slipped Tuesday, as the FTSE 100 Index declined 0.4% to 8,233.46.

Among large companies, Fresnillo PLC posted the largest decline, dropping 7.8%, followed by shares of Ocado Group PLC, which dropped 7.6%. Shares of Ithaca Energy PLC dropped 6.0%.

Carnival PLC was the biggest gainer during the session, surging 7.3%, and National Grid PLC surged 2.9%. Melrose Industries PLC rounded out the top three movers on Tuesday, as shares gained 2.4%.

In Europe, shares closed lower, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index slipping 0.5% to 517.05, Germany's DAX dropped 1.1% to 18,405.64 and France's CAC 40 lost 0.8% to 7,937.90.

North America

The S&P 500 staged a midday reversal and eked out a gain for a third consecutive day.

The broad index edged up 0.2% to 5,291.34, bringing its advance for the year to around 11%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.2% to 16,857.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 38,711.29.

Traders have grown jittery about economic growth in recent weeks, chipping away at some of stocks' gains after a big run-up and driving intraday volatility. Some investors have become concerned about U.S. consumers after earnings from big retailers indicated that some Americans are getting more choosy about where they spend their money.

On Tuesday, fresh data showed that the number of job openings in the U.S. sank in April to a more-than three-year low of 8.1 million.

Now, all eyes will be on the jobs report this Friday.

"The focus is on growth now," said Zhiwei Ren, portfolio manager at Penn Mutual Asset Management.

A recent swoon in oil prices has also highlighted expectations for a potentially weakening economy and concerns about oversupply. Most-actively traded contracts for Brent crude, the international benchmark, dropped more than 1% Tuesday, to trade around $78 a barrel, its lowest settle value since February.

Exxon Mobil fell 1.6%. Marathon Oil and Hess lost 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively.

Still, some investors sounded a more optimistic note.

"The direction of travel for inflation is still lower. The direction of travel for rates is still lower," said Joseph Amato, chief investment officer of Neuberger Berman.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined for a fourth consecutive day to settle at 4.335%.

Elsewhere Tuesday, meme stocks remained in focus, with GameStop shares slipping 5.4%. The pullback followed a big rally for the shares after a Reddit account tied to meme icon Keith Gill posted a screenshot of his stock and options portfolio.

Though moves in major U.S. indexes have been muted, there has been more volatility overseas this week, with election jitters rattling markets. Indian stocks slid after results showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party would lose its outright majority. The country's benchmark index sank and the Indian rupee weakened.

Mexico's and South Africa's respective currencies have also been jolted by elections in the past few days.