Australian shares are set to open higher, after tech stocks lifted US benchmarks.

ASX futures were up 0.5% or 42 points as of 8:00am on Thursday, suggesting a higher open.

Nvidia and its fellow tech giants pushed major US stock indexes to records Wednesday as investors stuck with a favorite trade.

The S&P 500 rose 1.2% on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq gained 2%, bringing its 2024 advance to more than 14%. The Dow industrials added 0.2%, or about 96 points.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was up 1.4% to US$78.58 a barrel, while gold was up 1.2% at US$2,355.32.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was down at 4.01% while the 10 Year yield was also down at 4.24%. US Treasury notes were down, with the 2 Year yield at 4.72% and the 10 Year yield at 4.28%.

The Australian dollar was unchanged at 66.48 US cents. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 99.20.


Chinese shares ended lower, weighed by property and retail stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.8% to 3065.40, the Shenzhen Composite Index was 1.2% lower and the ChiNext Price Index declined 0.5%. Investors are waiting for May trade data due Friday. Among major stocks, Poly Developments & Holdings shed 2.2% and Gemdale declined 5.5%. Yonghui Superstores dropped 3.3%. Gainers included SMIC, which added 1.25%, and BYD, which was 1.1% higher.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 0.1% lower at 18424.96 after a choppy trading session. Investors are likely weighing the recent mixed data out of China. Economic momentum appears robust despite the mixed PMIs for May in China, but the cyclical pickup expected in the coming months amid governmental fiscal support might not be sustained, given structural economic challenges, Zichun Huang, China economist at Capital Economics writes in a note. Among decliners, Zhongsheng Group fell 6.9%, China Hongqiao Group lost 4.2% and China Unicom shed 2.9%. Among advancers, Sunny Optical rose 4.7%, Alibaba Health gained 2.6% and NetEase was 2.4% higher.

Japanese stocks ended lower, dragged by falls in financial and electronics stocks, as concerns continued about signs of U.S. economic weakness. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.9% to 38490.17. Lasertec dropped 7.5% and Dai-ichi Life Holdings shed 4.4%. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield fell 3.5 basis points to 0.995%. Investors are focusing on economic data, including U.S. private-sector jobs data due later in the day, and their implications for monetary policy.

India shares closed higher, rebounding from a sharp selloff on Tuesday after election results showed that the ruling BJP's majority weakened. The benchmark Sensex rose 3.2% to 74382.24, making it one of the best performing markets in Asia. The rebound follows a 5.7% drop a day earlier. "While near-term volatility is likely to persist until clarity on the new government and policies emerges, India's economy remains robust in terms of growth and inflation relatively well-behaved," says Thomas Rupf, CIO Asia at VP Bank. Almost all stocks were in the green. JSW Energy led gains, rising 9.6%, and IndusInd Bank was up 7.75%. Tata Steel and Mahindra & Mahindra advanced about 6.5% each.


Stocks in the U.K. rose Wednesday, as the FTSE 100 Index added 0.3% to 8255.54.

Among large companies, Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC was the biggest gainer during the session, surging 7.0%, and Workspace Group PLC surged 6.2%. YouGov PLC rounded out the top three movers on Wednesday, as shares gained 4.8%.

Alphawave IP Group PLC posted the largest decline, dropping 7.5%, followed by shares of B&M European Value Retail S.A., which dropped 7.3%. Shares of Ninety One PLC dropped 6.5%.

In Europe, shares closed higher, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index adding 0.8% to 521.23, Germany's DAX rose 0.9% to 18,575.94 and France's CAC 40 also up 0.9% to 8,006.57.

North America

Nvidia and its fellow tech giants pushed major stock indexes to records Wednesday as investors stuck with a favorite trade.

The S&P 500 rose 1.2% on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq gained 2%, bringing its 2024 advance to more than 14%. The Dow industrials added 0.2%, or about 96 points.

The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed at all-time highs, their 25th and 13th closing records of 2024. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which includes Apple and Microsoft but not Nvidia, also rose for the day.

Nvidia's 5.2% advance Wednesday lifted it to a market value of more than $3 trillion, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The chip maker, whose stock became the darling of the artificial-intelligence boom, was the third U.S. company to cross the $3 trillion threshold, after Apple and Microsoft.

Apple has also helped power major indexes lately. Shares of the iPhone maker gained 0.8%, their eighth straight day of gains, to close with a market value higher than $3 trillion for the first time since January.

Some investors pointed to a decline in government bond yields as a reason for technology stocks' outperformance. Tech stocks tend to command lofty valuations based on expectations that their business will grow far into the future. What those expected cash flows are worth today can shift rapidly with changes in interest rates.

"You see the Nasdaq up more, led by tech," said Jimmy Lee, chief executive of The Wealth Consulting Group. "The S&P is up more than the Dow. I think it's just because yields have come down a little bit."

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell for a fifth consecutive trading day to 4.289%, its lowest settle since March.

Others saw the day's gains for tech shares as a case of investors continuing to bet on a successful trade.

"I think it's really just more of a momentum play at this point," said Steve Courtney, portfolio manager at PGIM Quantitative Solutions. "Especially after Nvidia's earnings, the pathway forward is pretty clear in terms of their acceleration here."

Nvidia shares soared after the company reported another standout quarter.

Earnings reports drove big moves in individual stocks Wednesday.

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise climbed 11% after the server and cloud-software company beat analysts' expectations and lifted its full-year guidance. CrowdStrike shares rallied 12% after the cybersecurity company reported a jump in quarterly revenue and raised its guidance.

Brown-Forman shares dropped 5.9% after the maker of Jack Daniel's posted a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly sales. Dollar Tree shares fell 4.9% after news that the discount retailer is exploring a potential sale or spinoff of Family Dollar.

Next up, investors are looking ahead to the monthly jobs report on Friday. The data could provide clues about the strength of the economy and the chances that the Federal Reserve will begin to cut interest rates soon.